Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WHAT IS CHASING DUCK? by Jan Thomas.  ISBN 978-0-54493907-3  hc. $9.99
THERE'S A PEST IN THE GARDEN! by Jan Thomas. ISBN 978-054494165-6 hc. $9.99
New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2017.  48p.  E READER   Gr. K-2

Illustrator, Jan Thomas, has launched a new series of easy readers featuring four friendly farm animals:  Dog, Donkey, Sheep, and Duck.  The four friends join in each other's adventures as they exaggerate the urgency of everyday situations, always supporting each member of their group.  Both of these books have surprise endings.  The vocabulary is simple, but refreshingly grammatical.  The conversation is captured in speech bubbles, paired with bright, expressive illustrations.  These stories remind me of the "Click, Clack, Moo" books by Doreen Cronin mixed in with "Scaredy Squirrel" books by Melanie Watt.  The next two titles, "My Friends Make Me Happy!" and "My Toothbrush Is Missing" will be available soon.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

UNDEFEATED: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin.  New York:  Roaring Book Press, 2017.

Jim Thorpe's story actually begins with his introduction to head coach, Pop Warner, at a football tryout at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.  Backgrounds on both men reveal their shared drive to be the best and their love of football.  Thorpe, along with many other Native Americans, was sent to the Carlisle school to adapt to the food, language, clothing and work habits of white people.  Warner, hailing from a ranching family, studied law at Cornell University and played varsity football there before coaching at Carlisle.  Once the two men were on the same team as player and coach, the Carlisle Indian School football team became victorious and famous, despite blatant discrimination against Native Americans.  Jim was a super athlete, participating in other sports and the 1912 Olympics.  His name is recognized to this very day.  One hundred years after his coaching career, "Pop Warner" football leagues are found around the country for children who want to learn the sport.  The book has 280 pages of solid information, 45 of which are Source Notes, Works Cited, and an Index.  Sheinkin documents this very readable story with a generous number of photographs in each chapter, living up to his reputation as National Book Award Finalist.
 Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

CITY OF SAINTS & THIEVES by Natalie C. Anderson.  New York:  G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2017  401p.  ISBN: 978-039954758-4 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Rolling several stories in one, Anderson takes readers on an underworld adventure in Sangui, Kenya, where a gang of thieves, called Goondas, live in a society of secrets and criminal activity.  Tina has been part of the Goondas for the past five years, ever since her mother was murdered in the house where she worked as a maid.  Known as "Tiny Girl" to her associates, she excels as a thief and keeps her personal life to herself - to protect her younger sister, Kiki, who lives as a convent school nearby.  The suspense begins when Tina is caught stealing from the family her mother used to work for - in the very room where her mother was murdered.  To further complicate things, her captor is Michael Greyhill, the family heir and her childhood friend, who has grown into a very handsome young man.  He's not falling for her scams, but can be convinced to help Tina solve the mystery of her mother's death.  The pair find out more than they want to know, as readers turn page after page to keep up with them.  There's a guide to Swahili vocabulary in the back, so you won't miss a beat!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

THE ROOSTER WHO WOULD NOT BE QUIET! by Carmen Agra Deedy. Illus. by Eugene Yelchin.  New York:  Scholastic Press, 2017.  48p.  ISBN 978--54572288-9 hc. $17.99      Gr. K-3     E PIC

Written like a folktale, the story begins in a small village that was so noisy it was overwhelming.  No one could concentrate on their work during the day or sleep at night.  The residents fired the mayor and hired a new one who outlawed singing or noise of any kind.  Most people complied, but one day a little rooster began to crow.  The mayor tried various punishments for the rooster, but the rooster kept crowing.  When the mayor threatened to make the rooster into soup, the village decided to stand up to the oppresive mayor and sing songs of their own - the ones they had silenced years ago.  The little rooster's voice inspired the residents to let everyone's voices be heard.  The lines between good and evil are further illustrated through Yelchin's mixed media drawings of the righteous rooster's awesome plumage and the menacing body language and greenish complexion of the mayor.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Thursday, June 22, 2017

APEX PREDATORS: The World's Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present by Steve Jenkins. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-054467160-7 hc. $17.99    Gr. 1-4    J591.5

What does it take to be the top (apex) predator?  What kind of body parts act as weapons to kill and eat other animals?  This book answers these and other questions about the food chain - past and present.  Jenkins dedicates a page each to information about  modern-day predators such as the shark, electric eel, and Siberian tiger, leaving plenty of extra pages for extinct predators, including dinosaurs and sea creatures that are larger than life.  Readers are treated to scale drawings of each animal in relation to a 6-foot man.  The comparison is awesome and a bit frightening.  Jenkins' characteristic  cut paper collage illustrations give readers a good idea of each animal's appearance.  This is non-fiction at it's best.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TUMBLE & BLUE by Cassie Beasley.  New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017.  390p.  ISBN 978-0525428442 ARC   Gr. 4-6   JUV FIC

Blue Montgomery, cursed to lose any competition, has recently been dumped on Granny Eve's doorstep by his father, a race car driver who wins every race.  Blue just wants to go home.  He doesn't even have a room at his grandmother's house because she's already the primary caretaker for three of his cousins, who have family curses of their own.  The Montgomery family curse centers around a golden alligator named Munch who appears in the Okefenokee Swamp during the bloodred moon to grant the power of greatness to anyone brave enough to make the journey.  Walcott Montgomery and Almira Lafayette fought over the fortune many years ago, leaving half their families cursed and half lucky.  As the bloodred moon approaches, all kinds of Montgomerys gather at Granny Eve's house to vie for a chance to change their fortunes.  Meanwhile, there's a new neighbor with a hero complex whose reckless behavior always gets her into trouble.  Her name is Tumble, and it seems that her mother, unaware of the curse, is a Lafayette.  Readers will turn page after page to find out if two new friends can put an end to an old family feud.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ROUND by Joyce Sidman. Illus. by Taeeun Yoo.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-054438761-4 nd. $17.99     PreS - Grade 2    E PIC

Sidman celebrates everything round in nature with a poem that flows throughout the book.  The descriptive language helps readers visualize the roundness of raindrops, rocks, and bubbles in their own experiences, in addition to the uncomplicated illustrations in the book. Read past the poem's end to find out why round shapes are sustainable and often found in nature. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI