Tuesday, November 21, 2017

WATER IS WATER by Miranda Paul. Illus. by Jason Chin.  New York: Roaring Book Press, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-159643984-9 hc. $17.99      Gr. K-1     JNF 551.48


The water cycle is explained in simple text and illustrated with kids using water while they participate in everyday activities.  The text rhymes as water becomes steam, evaporates into the form of clouds, fog, and rain.  As the weather turns cold, water takes on the solid shapes of snow and ice.  The playful illustrations by Jason Chin are emphasized by softer watercolor backgrounds, as children find ways to enjoy the water cycle in each kind of weather.  The information pages at the back of the book summarizes the water cycle, highlighting scientific vocabulary and recommending some other books on the use and re-use of water.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, November 17, 2017

SEVEN AND A HALF TONS OF STEEL by Janet Nolan.  Illus. by Thomas Gonzalez.  Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-156145-912-4 hc. $17.95    Gr. 1-4    JNF 623.825


Illustrations begin to tell the story of a plane flying into a skyscraper before the written narration takes over.  Loss of life from September 11, 2001 is gently acknowledged, but the real focus of the book is the rebuilding process that began with one steel girder from the World Trade Center in New York City, weighing in at seven and a half tons.  It was shipped to New Orleans in Louisiana, melted down, and re-shaped into the bow of a ship named the USS New York.  Work on the ship was delayed by several years because of damage done to the New Orleans shipyards by Hurricane Katrina. Finally, in 2009, this warship was complete and commissioned by the U.S. Navy.  To this day, the USS New York is led by the seven and a half tons of steel in its bow that came from Ground Zero, and sails in memory of the people who died on 9/11. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

LEAP! by JonArno Lawson. Illus. by Josee Bisaillon.  Ontario, Canada: Kids Can Press, 2017.  ISBN 978-177138-6784 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-2    E PIC

"A flea asleep
in the deep green moss
nettled by midges
wakes up cross -" and leaps into the path of a grasshopper, who leaps onto a rabbit, who startles a dog, who leaps into the lake scaring fish, who leap out of the water next to a frog, who leaps from his lilypad and keeps things in motion.  This cause-and-effect story could go on and on, if readers want to continue the story on their own.  The illustrations are fluid, as the characters move from page to page, showing off the beautiful scenery in each new location.  The poetry is written in an irregular meter that forms paragraphs and includes unusual rhymes that introduce new vocabulary.  Teachers may want to use LEAP as a "jumping-off" point for creative writing or as a read-aloud for fun.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

WITCH WARS by Sibeal Pounder.  Illus. by Laura Ellen Anderson. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.  265p.  ISBN: 978619639256 hc.  $16.99    Gr. 3-6    J FIC

If you've ever wondered why a witch's hat has a point or why they have warts, the answers can be found in "Witch Wars" by Sibeal Pounder.  Tiga Wicabim is a 9 year-old orphan living with the mean Miss Heks when Fran the Fabulous Fairy pops out of the sink and offers her an escape.  Fran informs Tiga that she is a witch! The proof is in her name: Tiga Wicabmim is an anagram for I AM A BIG WITCH.  Tiga travels down the drainpipe to Sinkville and is immediately thrust into the Witch Wars, a competition of nine witches, all 9 years old. Tiga faces tough choices and tricky riddles as she makes new friends and fights to become the Top Witch.  Tiga is smart, loyal, and determined, even as the underdog.  Anderson's gray-scale illustrations complement the all black and white world of Sinkville perfectly.  This series launch is sure to please 8-12 year-old girls who enjoy a little magic, fairy dust, and adventure. 
Megan Buck, Director, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A PIG, A FOX, AND STINKY SOCKS by Jonathan Fenske.  New York:  Penguin Young Readers, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-051515781-9 hc. $14.99.  Gr. K-1   E READER

This three-part story introduces Fox and Pig and proceeds to reveal their personalities.  Fox is a trickster and Pig is the target of those tricks.  However, by the end of the book, the joke's on Fox.  The action flows from block to block, like a comic book, making each character the focus of the story without background clutter.  The conversation, in speech bubbles is simple, and it rhymes.  Echoes of Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems, including elements of fun, make this book perfect for beginning readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

SIX DOTS: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant.  Illus. by Boris Kulikov.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. 32p.  ISBN 978-044981337-9 hc. $17.99     Gr. 2-5     E PIC

Based on the true story of Louis Braille, Bryant tells the story of a normal, curious boy who injured his eye with an awl from his father's workshop.  The eye became infected and spread to the other eye, blinding Louis.  As much as he tried to use his other senses, he wanted to read and write, just like everyone else.  At a school for the blind in Paris, Louis was introduced to a coding machine that used raised dots to make letters on paper, resulting in secret codes for the battlefield.  He worked for years, refining the code to make each letter of the alphabet fit into a matrix of six dots, which is named "Braille" and used universally by those who have lost their vision.  References and biographical information can be found in the back of the book.  Kulikov's illustrations are most impressive, but my favorite is a graphic of the Braille Alphabet on each end page.  SIX DOTS won the Schneider Family Book Award in January, 2017.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

BALDERDASH! by Michelle Markel. Illus. by Nancy Carpenter.  San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-081187922-4 hc. $17.99    Gr. K-3   E PIC

Most avid readers of children's books have heard about the Newbery Medal, awarded annually by the American Library Association.  But, how many know about John Newbery's lifelong passion for stories?  Adults had volumes of books - why not offer books for children? Newbery became a printer and revolutionized the publishing business with numerous books for children.  And that's why educators and librarians remember him to this day.  The information is biographical in nature.  The illustrations add an element of humor with full pages of people in period dress doing what people in England did in the 1700's, plus a little more.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI