Tuesday, April 17, 2018

THEY SAY BLUE by Jillian Tamaki. New York:  Abrams Books, 2018.  32p.  ISBN: 978-141972851-8 hc. $17.99   PreS - Gr. 1    E PIC

The full-spread illustrations, composed of acrylic paint on watercolor paper to give the effect of translucence, could almost tell the tale by themselves.  However, when you add the poetic text, the book comes alive with story.  With a little imagination, a trip to the beach becomes a discussion of blue sky and sea , a bus ride from school turns into a boat ride on waves of golden grasses, and a good night of sleep leads to waking up each morning with a renewed curiosity about nature and the colors that surround us.  Tamaki is a Caldecott Honor recipient for illustrating THIS ONE SUMMER, a middle school graphic novel which was written by her cousin, Mariko Tamaki.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


CHASING KING’S KILLER by James L. Swanson.  New York:  Scholastic Press, (2018) 364p. ISBN 978-054572666-6 hc. $19.99   323.092 SW
Swanson divides the book into four sections of story.  Part One introduces Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his philosophy of non-violent protest, the segregated southern states, and the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.  Things really speed up after 1963 with the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama Church, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Malcolm X, and opposition to the Vietnam War. Part Two chronicles the life of felon and future assassin, James Earl Ray.  Part Three provides the detailed planning of King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, and Part Four delves into the manhunt for Ray.  The last 100 pages consist of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s lasting legacy of peace, along with information for further study.  This very readable book is peppered with authentic black and white photographs from the time period. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

THE GREAT CHICKEN ESCAPE by Nikki McClure.  Petaluma, CA: Cameron Kids, 2018. 32p. ISBN 978-1-94490322-0 hc. $16.99     PreS-K     E PIC

McClure describes a single adventure from her time living in Alaska with monastic nuns.  She says that "Island life makes small events huge."  Her wordless story begins and ends with chickens in the fenced-in yard.  When the gate is left open, "Chickens run!" and prove themselves to be efficient escape artists.  They find interesting new landscapes and some danger, but seem to know that the setting sun means it's time to head home.  The stark illustrations were made by placing cut black paper over white for a striking visual experience.  It echoes her 2010 book, MAMA, IS IT SUMMER YET?, which incorporates a few shades of color, but stays true to the black and white art -and has now been printed as a board book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

TRUCK FULL OF DUCKS by Ross Burach.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-133812936-6 hc. $17.99      PreS-Gr.2      E PIC

Burach doesn't waste time or paper telling this funny story about a truck driver and his cargo of ducks.  The story begins and finishes on the end pages - maybe because there are so many bold illustrations to take in.  As the truck leaves to deliver ducks, the delivery address is eaten, leading the group on an adventure to see who ordered a truck full of ducks.  Each stop on the way is full of rhymes and fun phrasing.  The book looks young, but second graders will absolutely love the jokes and wordplay, such as when the pirate tells the truck driver he ordered "a truck full of crackers...not quackers!" for his pet parrot.  There's a scary moment when the final delivery is to a hungry fox who lives in the dark forest, but never fear.  There's a happy twist to this delightful children's story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

THE CHINESE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES by Ying Chang Compestine.  Illus. by David Roberts.  New York:   Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-141972542-5 hc. $17.99     Gr. 2-4     E PIC

The best thing about folktales is how authors envision new settings, new twists, and new endings to re-tell the old stories.  In the original version of THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES, traveling tailors make invisible clothing for a vain king, and leave town with the large fees he paid for the clothes.  This time, Compestine turns the tables on the dishonest palace administrators who've been steeling from the king.  The young king's tailors help to use the administrators' vanity against them by replacing the costly silks with burlap sacks and telling them that dishonest men can only see burlap, while everyone else sees the true beauty of the silks.   True to the original story, a little child blurts out the truth of the situation during the annual New Year parade.  The illustrator, Roberts, brings prior experience in fashion to the story, creating beautiful and authentic Chinese clothing.  He even makes the burlap look good!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

BABIES CAN SLEEP ANYWHERE by Lisa Wheeler. Illus. by Carolina Buzio.  New York: Abrams Appleseed, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-141972536-4 hc. $14.95     PreS     E PIC

Comparing a range of animals to a sleeping baby, "babies can sleep anwhere" becomes a predictable line on every fourth page.  It's amazing how many words rhyme with "where" and can be written into descriptive sentences about animals.  The alternate pages have their own rhyme schemes, giving the story an easy-to-read cadence.  Buzio's illustrations are boldly drawn in muted colors, making it easy to identify each featured animal - most of them pictured with babies of their own.  Parents and teachers will enjoy reading and re-reading this book to preschoolers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I AM A CAT by Galia Bernstein.  New York:  Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-141972643-9 hc. $16.95.    PreS -  Gr.1      E PIC

Engaging illustrations that convey a sense of humor drive this story of classification.  A small cat claims to be one of the group of "big cats," including lion, cheetah, tiger, mountain lion, and panther.  Each, in turn, points out the characteristics that make them who they are.  The little cat asks them what they have in common, making them all "cats."  When they name all their common characteristics, such as long tail, sharp claws, whiskers, and eyes that see in the dark, the small cat shows that he has those same characterisitcs.  This clever way to categorize alike and different items can be applied in the classroom to other animals, plants, words, and math concepts.  It's a great book for preschool and lower elementary readers!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855