One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count With Me! – John Micklos Jr., illustrations by Clive McFarland

   One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count With Me! – John Micklos Jr., illustrations by Clive McFarland, Nancy Paulsen Books, (9780399544712), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture Book

What did you like about the book?  Readers are taken through the cycle of the seasons as they count up from one to ten leaves and then back down from ten to one.  The rhyming text reads wonderfully, making this a nice choice for story time.  The bright illustrations, rendered in crayon, watercolor, and acrylic and finished digitally, have a fun collage style.  The reader starts with a summertime tree, “One leaf…two leaves on the tree.  Three leaves, four leaves, count with me.”  The numbers are written in the text and also represented with large, stand-out numerals.  The leaves are observed by a little boy as well as a squirrel, a caterpillar, birds, bees and other creatures.  The animals also are shown in their life cycles throughout the seasons.  As winter approaches and the leaves fall, the reader will see that the squirrel will use them in his nest: “Two leaves, one leaf, orange, red.  Soon some leaves become a bed.”   The colors perfectly complement each season from the bright greens of spring and summer, to the reds, oranges and browns of autumn, to the whites and greys of winter.  This is a perfect addition for story times with a theme of the four seasons.   

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book? This is a perfect book for teaching counting as well as the cycle of seasons.

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, if you are doing a seasons themed story time.

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

Date of review:  10/18/17             

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Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale – Corey Rosen Schwartz, pictures by Deborah Marcero

    Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale – Corey Rosen Schwartz, pictures by Deborah Marcero, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, (9780399176333), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture Book

What did you like about the book?  In a rhyming, pun-filled text, the reader learns that Cinderella had a twin sister named Tinderella.  The twins still live with a step mother who makes them do all the work, but the two of them easily “split each task exactly down the middle.”  Math-loving Tinderella draws pie charts and graphs throughout the story.  The only problem comes when Prince Charming finds the twins.  Tinderella calls on their fairy godmother and asks: “You can’t divide a prince in half, but…can you make a double?”  Luckily, the prince’s double also loves math, so both twins marry and live “”happ’ly ever half-ter.”  The illustrations, rendered with India ink, gouache, watercolor and Photoshop, are bright and fun to look at, ranging from double page spreads to comic-style panels.  The rhymes work wonderfully and will make this a fun read aloud.  This is a fun nice twist on the classic story.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers who can’t get enough of fairy tales will enjoy this new twist on the tale.  Hand it to readers who like math too.

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:  10/18/17             

 

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Chasing Augustus – Kimberly Newton Fusco

 Chasing Augustus – Kimberly Newton Fusco, Knopf, (9780385754019), 2017

Format: hardcover

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

Genre: realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? It’s summertime, but Rosie is ornery and mad. Her dad had a stroke and is in a home and her mom moved back to California after giving away her dog. Now Rosie lives full-time with her equally grumpy grandfather who is running her father’s donut shop and attempting to care for Rosie. Rosie spends all her days on her bike looking for her dog, Augustus or Gloaty Gus. She forces her new friend Philippe, a foster kid from next door, to help her in her mission. Will she ever find her dog? And more importantly, will she ever find happiness? The language is incredibly descriptive in Chasing Augustus; you can hear and smell the scenes while reading. I love Rosie’s insults, turns of phrase like “clay-brained boar-pig” or “loathsome toad” she and her dad came up with after reading about the middle ages. Readers will love seeing how characters grow and change throughout the book, not just Rosie, but also her grandfather, her friend Philippe and the town pariah, Swanson. Rosie’s pain is visceral in parts; my heart hurt for her. This book is a wonderful read if you like to lose yourself in someone else’s problems.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It’s always hard to read a book with an unpleasant main character. Once readers understand where Rosie is coming from, though, they will sympathize with her and forgive her vinegary personality.

To whom would you recommend this book? Dog lovers and students who enjoy books about tough family situations will enjoy this book.

Who should buy this book? Most middle school libraries

Where would you shelve it? realistic

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? not the top, but it’s great.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date reviewed: October 18, 2017

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Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties – Dav Pilkey

    Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties – Dav Pilkey, Graphix / Scholastic, (9780545935210), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Graphic novel

What did you like about the book? In this third adventure starring Policeman Dog Man (human body with dog head). Petey the cat manages to escape from jail. To wreak new havoc he orders a cloning machine and creates what he hopes will be a cat as evil as he is to assist in his dastardly deeds. Instead he gets a kitten who needs parenting. Meanwhile scientists desiring to study the brain of a fish manage to create a bionic super fish leaving Dog Man to guard it overnight. As you can tell there is A LOT of action going on here with the same amount of major silliness. Another gem from Pilkey!

To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to Dog Man and Pilkey fans and anyone else who just wants to laugh.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Graphic novels

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you are a Dav Pilkey/ Dog Man fan, then yes!

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

Date of review: 10/16/2017

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The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean – Lindsay Littleson

         The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean – Lindsay Littleson, Kelpies, (9781782503545), 2017.

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

Genre: Realistic middle-school fiction

KelpiesWhat did you like about the book? Lily is starting high school (Lily is 12 and is starting the American equivalent of 6th grade) with a dodgy reputation about hearing voices hanging over her. She nearly drowned in the summer but was saved by hearing the voice of her little sister. Now her older sister, Jenna, is getting involved with a boy with a criminal background and Lily needs to rescue her before she ends up in real trouble. Lily is having enough problems of her own, worry about losing her best friend, Rowan, and trying to figure out who is leaving nasty notes in her locker. Believable, authentic characters in a story that never lags. Very likable! Oh, and each chapter begins with one of Lily’s lists!

Anything you did not like about this book? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to those who read the first book about Lily McLean, the Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean and also to 5-7th graders who want a slice of life story that captures this age very well.

Who should buy this book? Public, elementary and middle-school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Juvenile fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near to. This is a quick, very likable read.

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

Date of review: 10/16/2017

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Nutcracked – Susan Adrian

 Nutcracked – Susan Adrian, Random House, (9780399556685), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book?  Georgie is a 6th grader who has her dream come true when she is chosen to dance as Clara in her ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. The only problem is that her best friend Kaitlyn quits ballet and turns away when she does not receive the part.  Also, Georgie’s grandfather, who first brought her to the ballet and told her she could do it, is in a coma in the hospital.  On top of these real life dramas of a broken friendship and a family member’s health crisis, Georgie suddenly finds herself swept into a magical realm when she dances with her ballet teacher’s family heirloom Nutcracker.  When she dances with The Nutcracker she finds herself in a dangerous place faced with a real Mouse King and the Nutcracker who needs her help to end a curse.  Along the way Georgie enlists the help of Noah, a boy in her reading class.  This is a fun holiday themed story filled with magic and real life issues.  In the end, Georgie finds the strength she didn’t realize she possessed.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Some readers might expect a bit more insight into the fantasy element than they receive, but overall it is a magical read.

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers who love ballet and fantasy will enjoy this one.

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?   Yes, if you love The Nutcracker ballet.

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

Date of review:  10/16/17             

 

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Speak Easy, Speak Love – written by McKelle George

  Speak Easy, Speak Love – written by McKelle George, Harper Collins Publishers, 9780062560926, 2017

Format: hardcover

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

Genre: Historical Fiction, Teen Romance

What did you like about the book?  This is a cute story about love, rum-running and speakeasies. Beatrice is a modern female who wants to be a doctor and Benedick is an affluent young man who wants to write books.  Despite initial prejudices and difficulties, these main characters fall in love despite prejudices and difficulties.

While this is not an original storyline, it is a very cute one.  You fall in love with the characters and want them to be successful in all they do.  There are even some ‘easter eggs’ in the story with a mention of Shakespeare and some other hidden delights.  This is a great book for anyone who secretly (or not secretly!) wants to be a flapper!

Anything you didn’t like about it?  While there is underage drinking, it is thematic and is realistic to the time period.

To whom would you recommend this book?  I would recommend this book to adults and young adults who love to read about the roaring 20’s.  If you’ve read Anna Godbersen’s “Bright Young Things” series, you might want to try this one out!

Who should buy this book? Young adult library

Where would you shelve it? fiction, historical 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: Laureen Cutrona, Townsend Public Library, Townsend, MA

Date of Review: October 17, 2017 

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