Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO by Kristin Bartley Lenz.  Ashford, CT:  Elephant Rock Books, 2016.  308p.  ISBN 978-09968649-16 pbk. $12.95    Gr.9-12    YA FIC

Cara's at the top of her game - a champion rock climber competing in events around the world with her parents, who are also climbers.  While competing in Ecuador, her parents and Uncle Max are caught in an avalanche, resulting in Uncle Max's disappearance and assumed death.  Cara's parents are grief-stricken and send her to live with her grandparents in the suburbs near Detroit.  She doesn't want to stay, as she's also grieving, and would rather have the emotional support of her parents.  Good fortune brings her to the lunch table of Kaitlyn and Nick, rather unusual characters who end up being good friends for Cara.  Her grandfather signs her up for driving lessons and takes her to the local climbing gym to keep her moving forward with life.  There's also a romantic interest named Tom and a series of mysterious notes that keep Cara engaged in the present.  As she finds out more about her grandparents, Cara begins to understand her parents better, and gains patience while she sorts out this new chapter of her life.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WE ARE GROWING! by Laurie Keller. New York: Hyperion Books. Elephant an Piggie series. 2016. 56p.  ISBN 978-1484726358 lib.binding $9.99    PreS-Gr. 1    E Reader
Elephant and Piggie introduce beginning readers to several blades of grass - personified to interact just like a group of friends.  The group notices as each one has a growth spurt, and individually defines each blade by their new characteristics of curliest, tallest, crunchiest, silliest, and dandiest.  A lawn mower soon makes all the grass equal in height and without distinction, until someone reminds the group, "You will grow again!"  Elephant and Piggie decide they are the "read-i-est" and close the story with that clever bit of word play.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SQUASH BOOM BEET: An Alphabet for Healthy, Adventurous Eaters by Lisa Maxbauer Price. Traverse City, MI: Blue Bay Books, 2016.  ISBN 978-0996853002    PreS-Gr.2    E PIC

This beautifully photographed alphabet book sets its sights on vegetables and a few herbs that you can grow in any Michigan garden.  The author traveled to farms around the Traverse City area to photograph some tasty and unusual produce.  There's an eye-catching full page spread for the letter "Ss" featuring squash in the forms of pattypan squash, summer squash, winter squash, and the colorful carnival squash.  Readers will find that the alphabet letters are used liberally to fit a variety of delicious and colorful vegetables. The rhyming text and spectacular produce pictures will make this book fun to read aloud, and may support a unit on plants, foods, or nutrition.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

SKYFISHING by Gideon Sterer. Illus. by Poly Bernatene.  New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017. 32p.  ISBN 9781419719110 hc. $17.95    Gr. K-2   E PIC

When Grandpa moves from his cabin on the lake to a third floor apartment in the city, the old fisherman finds himself with too much time on his hands.  He's been fishing his whole life long and knows everything about the sport.  At the suggestion of his granddaughter, the two began fishing from the balcony and catch all kinds of everyday items.  Capfish, litterfish, and photofish soon replace the common varieties found in the lake.  Their catches become bigger and bigger until they catch a troublefish and decide to put the fishing poles away until summer vacation.  The illustrations are vibrant and pique your imagination, as the streets below are transformed into waterways that turn traffic and city folk into a school of fish.  Great illustrations for big imaginations!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE by Steven B. Frank.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.  298p. ISBN: 9780544826083 hc. $16.99     Gr. 5-9     J FIC

The boys meet when Armstrong's parents enroll him in Opportunity Busing to Charlie's school for a voluntary integration program.  Suspicions and conflicts during their sixth grade year eventually shift to understanding and friendship, not only with the boys, but with their families and friends.  Though set during turbulent times in the 1970's, the novel is very accessible to preteen readers.  The wording is such that it could very well be set in the present day.
Janet Edwards, Library Aide, Bothwell Middle School Library, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

PANDORA by Victoria Turnbull. Illus. by author. New York: Clarion Books, 2017. 32p. ISBN 978-0544-947337 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC
Pandora, a personified fox, lived alone in a house furnished with restored items she found in the trash heaps that surrounded her house. One day a bird landed on the trash pile with a broken wing.  Pandora wasn't sure how to repair a living item, but she slowly nursed the bird back to health. After constructing a beautiful nest from twigs and flowers, the bird flew off into the sky, leaving Pandora alone once again.  Surrendering to overwhelming sadness, Pandora didn't notice the various plants growing from seeds in the bird nest, creating ground cover for the endless trash heaps around her house.  The new growth attracted living creatures - new friends in a new world for Pandora. Turnbull's watercolor illustrations are detailed and beautiful, enhancing the storytelling experience.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

MAE AND JUNE AND THE WONDER WHEEL by Charise Mericle Harper. Illus. by Ashley Spires.  New York: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2017. 120p.  ISBN 978-0-544-630635 hc. $15.99    Grades 1-3    J FIC

The first installment in this new chapter book series introduces readers to June and her family, which includes Sammy, a talking dog that only June can hear, older sister Isabella, and her supportive parents.  June's criteria for good friends is that they be "Fun! Friendly! Full of Adventure!"  Not everyone fits into that job description, until Mae and her family move in across the street.  Mae and June try to cultivate a friendship, amid challenges at school and with family, but end up ready to be best friends for a long time to come.  The large print, short chapters, and Spires' cartoon-like illustrations throughout the book make pleasant reading for early elementary students. Harper also wrote the JUST GRACE series for a similar audience of young readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI