Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes – Jef Aerts, illustrated by Sanne te Loo

  Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes – Jef Aerts, illustrated by Sanne te Loo, Floris Books, 9781782505617, 2020

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Picture Book

 What did you like about the book? This sweet story is about a special friendship that continues after one child moves away. In this story, we meet Adin and Dina, who both live on a farm. Dina lives in a house on the top of the farm and Adin lives at the bottom of the farm with his mother who is a worker at the farm. Their days are spent enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the fruit farm–and enjoying much of the fruit as well. One day, Adin tells Dina that his family is moving into the city for his mother’s new job. This makes them both sad and they try to make the best of the time they have remaining. Once the move occurs, both Dina and Adin miss their special friendship, however, both have found the same way to pass the time. Both Dina and Adin love to plant cherry pits in the tiny nooks and crannies between the farm and town. After several long months have passed, they notice a trail of cherry blossom trees between the farm and town. And, as Adin’s mom said, “A trail  is meant to be followed.”

The illustrations provided by Sanne te Loo are absolutely beautiful–especially the beautiful landscape of the fruit farm and the cherry blossom trees blooming in the spring.

 Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? While reading this book, the first thought that came to me was that this would be a perfect book for a child who is moving, or even going to another school and might be missing some special friends.  This shows that any friendship a child has does not need to end just because of a move. This book reminded me of Miss Rumphius in how she planted flower seeds around town.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone who works with children between the ages of four and seven. 

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, a beautiful story with equally beautiful illustrations.

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: December 9, 2019

 

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There’s a Dragon In My Boot – Tom Nicoll, illustrated by Sarah Horne

 There’s a Dragon In My Boot – Tom Nicoll, illustrated by Sarah Horne, Tiger Tales, 2019. 9781680104547

Format: Paperback

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

Genre:   Fantasy

What did you like about the book?  A father-son camping trip turns into a little more than Eric and his dad had planned when they have to bring along Eric’s Mini Dragon, Pan, as well as his two best friends.  Still Eric is looking forward to the outing, and hoping to help Pan finally learn to fly.  Things go south right away when Eric’s neighbor and nemesis Toby Bloom shows up at the campground with his father and their “Happy Glamper” tent equipped with 6 bedrooms, working plumbing and electricity and a well stocked kitchen!  While Eric and his dad resist the lure of the Blooms’ luxurious setup, Eric’s friends Jayden and Min are happy to defect to the cozy beds and hot food the Blooms offer.  Eric and Pan cut the power lines to the tent, and then propose an outdoorsman competition between the two dads – fishing, fire starting, and searching for a legendary lost treasure.  While both sides of the contest resort to some less-than-honest tactics, the resolution is satisfying for all, especially Pan, who at last figures out how to stay airborne.

Cute cartoonish sketches, handwritten lists and diagrams, some slapstick comedy and potty humor, and even the funny chapter titles, all contribute to the fun in this fourth in a series.

Anything you didn’t like about it? no

To whom would you recommend this book?  2nd – 4th grade light fantasy fans will enjoy this, particularly if they’ve read other books in the series. 

Who should buy this book?  Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it?  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: Leigh King, Lincoln St. Elementary School, Northborough, Mass.

Date of review:  12/8/19

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Peg + Cat: Peg Up A Tree – Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson

   Peg + Cat: Peg Up A Tree – Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson, Candlewick Entertainment, 9781536209709, 2019

Format: Paperback Beginning Reader

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

 What did you like about the book? This is a great little story that teaches children that sometimes it takes several tries to get something right. In this story, Peg is stuck up in a tree. Cat tries to help her by making a ladder. Unfortunately, the ladder holds together long enough for Cat to climb up the tree but then breaks apart before Peg and Cat can go back down. Now they are both stuck in the tree. Their friend Ramone comes along and makes a few adjustments to the broken ladder then he climbs to the top of the tree. This time, the ladder is sturdy but a sudden movement by Cat sends the ladder falling to the ground. Peg then has the idea to use her yoyo to snag the ladder and pull it to the top so they can all climb down (the movement of Cat’s tail resembles a yoyo and that is what gives her the idea). Eventually, they all make it safely to the ground by using all their combined efforts.

 Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? For emergent readers I would recommend it for ages 4-6, although younger children will enjoy the story. I like that it has different chapters (with titles) because this always seems like an accomplishment to a child when they complete a chapter. I think that children who enjoy the other Peg + Cat books and also the PBS TV show will enjoy this book.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone that works with children between the ages of four and six. 

Where would you shelve it? Early/Beginner Readers

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

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: December 9, 2019

 

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Gigantosaurus: Don’t Cave In by Cyber Group Studios

91YZ0Ceym9L._AC_UY218_ML3_Gigantosaurus: Don’t Cave In by Cyber Group Studios. Candlewick Entertainment, 9781536212075, 2019

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Picture Book

 What did you like about the book? I liked the message of this story which is being brave even when you are afraid on the inside.  In this story, we meet several dinosaurs that are standing outside a scary dark cave with an even scarier dinosaur (or so we think) inside the cave. They are all too scared to go in–that is, until a huge mean dinosaur is coming right at them. Once inside, they begin exploring the cave and all are trying to stay brave. They try various things such as singing songs or playing silly games to keep positive. In the end, they discover that the scary sound was really another dinosaur they know just trying to keep others away from his special cave. I did like the message about finding ways to be brave, however, that was really all I enjoyed about this book.

Anything you did not like about the book. I found there were a lot of names of characters thrown in at the beginning and I had to go back to see who was who. The dinosaur that shows up at the end of the book looks similar to one with the group inside the cave so this was a little confusing.

To whom would you recommend this book? I think children that enjoy the TV series “Gigantosaurus” would enjoy this. Any time a book compliments a TV program, I think that is a good idea.

Who should buy this book? I would not recommend a library purchasing this book. The story is weak and the illustrations look like a cartoon. I think there are other books about being brave that would have more of a plot and wonderful accompanying illustrations by an actual artist–that would be money better spent. I do think a parent should buy this book if they have a child that watches the TV show. I feel it is important for children to see a book format in addition to the TV format.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

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

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: December 5, 2019

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Astrid and the Sky Calf by Rosie Faragher

81kRIlqYHKL._AC_UY218_ML3_Astrid and the Sky Calf by Rosie Faragher. Child’s Play, 9781786283542, 2019

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Picture Book

 What did you like about the book? This is such a sweet book on how kindness and compassion can heal all kinds of things. In this story we meet Dr. Astrid, a young girl who is in charge of taking care of all the magical beasts that come her way. Between sticky tape, potions, bandages, and thread there is not a single illness she cannot cure. One blustery day, Sky Calf (a calf with gold wings) appears at her doorstep with a mystery illness. Sky Calf can not explain what is wrong and Dr. Astrid is unable to determine any illness using her usual methods. None of her treatments seems to make Sky Calf better–in fact, everyone just gets more frustrated. Eventually, Dr. Astrids gives up on trying to make Sky Calf better and simply starts spending more time with Sky Calf. They paint pictures, read books, play outside, and just spend time together. As it turns out, this is all Sky Calf needed to feel better–time with a friend.

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of three and six–especially with children that might be starting a new school or daycare program. It reminded me of The Rabbit Listened and Be A Friend–how just the simple act of being someone’s friend can make all the difference.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone that works with children between the ages of three and six.

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: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: December 5, 2019

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Picture Book, Rosie Faragher | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif

71sCOzJ+e-L._AC_UY218_ML3_The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif. HarperTeen, 2019. 9780062849601

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Adventure

What did you like about the book? Jessie is an operative in a secret, all-women team that combats violence towards women around the world, from freeing hostages in Cameroon, to Belgrade, where the team is trying to bring down a kingpin of human trafficking. The problem is, she was fired from the team for her unauthorized murder of the Cameroonian hostage taker. But she can’t let the team go to Serbia with one woman down, so she uses her special skills of subterfuge and technological know-how to go rogue and work on the project on her own. She quickly befriends Paulina, the daughter of the human trafficker, but has to decide whether her feelings for Paulina are going to undermine her dangerous mission. This is a suspenseful, James Bond-like adventure, with cool techie gadgets, such as telescopic contact lenses, and lots of danger and action. Real life problems of using women for hostages and human trafficking lend the story edge-of-the-seat urgency.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 16 and up, especially for those who like an all-women cast, international intrigue and a LGBTQ main character.

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Teen or adult fiction

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

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

Date of review: December 9, 2019

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Gross as a Snot Otter: Discovering the World’s Most Disgusting Animals by Jess Keating, illustrated by David DeGrand

 Gross as a Snot Otter: Discovering the World’s Most Disgusting Animals by Jess Keating, illustrated by David DeGrand,  Alfred A. Knopf, 9781524764500, 2019 

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

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book?  In this nonfiction book, we are introduced to a variety of animals that have some pretty weird adaptations. Each animal gets 2 pages that include a large color photo, a brief description of what makes it gross, a complete CV (scientific name, size, diet, habitat, predators and threats) and a cartoon highlighting a weird fact. This is certainly an eye-catching work; the photos are bright and sharp and the pages are an eye-popping selection of neon colors. I liked the predictable construction of the pages; a young reader would know right where to look as they page through. I certainly learned a lot about mucus, saliva and bad smells as defense mechanisms.  In fairness, some animals in the book are a lot grosser than others. Maggots = iky, no matter what. Siberian chipmunks, though? Pretty cute. A snot otter turns out to be a foot-long salamander found in the eastern U.S.  A jokey trigger-warning opens the book (“not for the squeamish…”) and a glossary of useful vocabulary words appears at the back.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The book closes with a thoughtful discussion about why humans find some things yucky and exhorting us to keep an open mind. This would have been better placed at the front of the book.

To whom would you recommend this book?  If students loved other Keating/DeGrand outings (Pink is for Blobfish, Cute as an Axolotl), they’ll like this one. Extreme animal books with photos are always popular and kids who poured over other entries in this field will be drawn to this one as well. Thoughtful exploration about the evolutionary value of these adaptations make this book more valuable than ones that just focus on extremes.

Who should buy this book? Elementary or public libraries 

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction 590

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

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: December 8, 2019

 

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