Tuesday, June 18, 2019

BASEBALL: WHO DOES WHAT? by Ryan Nagelhout. New York: Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2018. 32p. ISBN 978-1538204207 hc. $19.95   Gr. 1-3   J796.357 NA
Nagelhout covers the basics of baseball starting with the rules, the playing field, and the player positions.  The chapter titled, “Who’s on First?” describes the strategy of a first baseman, which can also come in handy if you’re a runner on first base.  Strategies are also explained for the other bases and the outfield positions.  A Table of Contents and Index are in place to help find information quickly.  The page layout is brightly colored and consistent – a great way to learn the game.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

SUPERFAN’S GUIDE TO PRO BASEBALL TEAMS by Drew Lyon. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2018. 72p. ISBN 978-151578851-5 hc. $26.99    Gr. 3-5   J796.357 BR
Lyon highlights 30 baseball teams, from the Detroit Tigers to the Boston Red Sox to the San Francisco Giants.  Each has a two-page spread of photographs, superfacts, win/loss records, World Series Championships, Franchise Leader statistics, and the name of each team’s home baseball park.  Star players over the years are also featured – always in the uniform of the year they played. The book also includes a map of  major league teams in the United States and a page dedicated to the Tools of the Game: bats, baseballs, gloves, and uniforms.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

PAY ATTENTION CARTER JONES by Gary D. Schmidt. New York: Clarion Books, 2019. 217p. ISBN 978-0544790858 hc. $16.99     Gr. 4-6     JUV

Gary D. Schmidt, who wrote WEDNESDAY WARS, a 2008 Newbery Honor winner, and ORBITING JUPITER, which should have won a Newbery Award (in my opinion), scores again with Carter Jones taking center stage in this touching and humorous tale of a family unraveling at the seams.  Carter's adventure begins when he opens the front door to find an English butler, Mr. Bowles-Fitzpatrick, who was sent to his family by his deceased grandfather.  It's almost like the beginning of Mary Poppins, except this butler is an expert at the game of cricket; besides being "practically perfect" at household tasks.  The family is dealing with the death of Carter's brother, his dad's deployment to Germany, and the everyday stresses of school and home.  The butler manages to bring the neighborhood together with the formation of a cricket team by teaching the game from the ground up.  He also teaches readers about the game as he mends relationships between family and friends.  This story will make you laugh on one page and cry on the next.  Schmidt is known for skillfully writing about the complexity of relationships, especially for middle school and teen audiences.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A SQUIRRELLY SITUATION by Jacqueline Kelly. Illus. by Jennifer L. Meyer. Calpurnia Tate Girl Vet series.  New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2019.  100p,    Gr. 2-3    JUV

The same readers who enjoyed the adventure and humor of THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE, Newbery Honor Book in 2010, will also like the Calpurnia Tate Girl Vet series.  This turn-of-the-century heroine always finds herself somewhere between the rules of the house and her overwhelming love for small creatures.  Her brother Travis, also an animal lover, is usually in trouble of his own making.  This time, he finds a baby squirrel that has fallen from the nest and brings it home to nurse it back to health.  Fluffy the squirrel and Thud, the new kitten in the house, think they are brothers, as well as family pets, and keep the family busy with their antics all summer long.  Travis takes center stage at the end of the story with a compassionate gesture toward an ostracized classmate.  The first of this five-book series is titled SKUNKED!, followed by COUNTING SHEEP, WHO GIVES A HOOT?, A PRICKLY PROBLEM, and A SQUIRRELLY SITUATION.  Meyer's charcoal drawings are subtle, but add to the reader's experience by showing what a farmhouse looked like in the early 1900's.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

HARBOR ME by Jacqueline Woodson.  New York: Nancy Paulsen books, 2018. 176p.  ISBN 978-0399252525 hc. $17.99    Gr. 4-8   JUV

Six diverse sixth graders, who have been the targets of school bullies, while also dealing with social issues at home, find themselves in a weekly ARTT (a room to talk) session without the usual dialog from their teacher.  After an uncomfortable first session, Haley comes up with an idea to record the individual stories of the group.  Everyone can share their personal history at their own pace.  Amari is from a caring African-American family who wants to protect him, but knows they must teach him about the dangers of being black in America - regardless of education or social status.  Esteban is under extreme stress because his Dominican father has been detained by ICE and could be sent back to his homeland any day.  Ashton is white, but his family is without economic or educational advantages.  Tiago and his family of Puerto Rican immigrants, is often harrassed and belittled because they converse in Spanish as much as they speak English.  Holly has been Haley's best friend since birth because their mothers were friends.  Since Haley's mom died, Holly's mother has included Haley in family activities and filled a void with stories about her mom.  Holly has willingly shared her many economic privileges with Haley, but can't sit still in class and has a hard time learning academic subjects.  Haley's story has been told in bits and pieces throughout the book, but comes to crisis as the uncle who raised her is ready to move on to a life his own.  He is actually making way for Haley's dad, incarcerated for the past decade, to step up to his role as father.  It's time for Haley to accept this change and grow with her new community of friends.  Woodson tackles several social and political issues, showing how children are also affected by injustice and prejudice.  Readers will perhaps find their own classmates in this timely story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

THE CRAYON MAN: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow. Illus. by Steven Salerno.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. 32p.  ISBN 978-1328866844 hc. $17.99.   Gr. K-3    JUV NF 741.2

What do you do if you love, love, love bright colors, even though you work in a factory that makes black ink, black dye, and black shoe polish?  Edward Binney teamed up with his cousin, C. Harold Smith, and formed a new company that produced white chalk, gray slate pencil, and black crayon.  Binney's next challenge was to brighten his world by improving on brittle European crayons with the addition of paraffin wax and bright colors.  The company experimented with pigments and minerals to make new colors and shades of colors found in nature.  Eventually, the formulas were just right; and crayolas were packaged into boxes of eight.  Binney & Smith Crayolas won a gold medal for inventions at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.  Over the years, the colors have multiplied into boxes of 24, 48, and 120, but the product has maintained it's quality and appeal to children.  Find more factual information about the Crayon Man in the back of the book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE by David Litchfield. New York: Clarion Books, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-1328-595898 hc. $17.99    Gr. K-3    E PIC

Litchfield continues the story of THE BEAR AND THE PIANO with the same artistic flair evident in the rich colors and use of light and shadow in every two-page illustration.  The theme of "follow your dreams" is also found in both stories.  In the first book, Bear found a piano and honed his musical skill with his forest friends until he was ready to perform for audiences all over the world.  In this second book, Bear is still performing - claiming the listeners of Hector and his fiddle.  Hector decides to give up playing publicly and settles into a life at home....until he realizes that his dog, Hugo, has learned to play the violin and is delighting the neighbors with musical performances.  Bear also hears about Hugo's enthusiastic fiddle playing and invites him to join the show.  This reversal of roles between Hector and Hugo puts a strain on their friendship, as happens in almost all friendships over time.  Readers will want to follow the good example put forth by Hector, Hugo, and Bear in this heartwarming ending.  Although this book could be considered a sequel, both of these beautiful books are good reading on their own.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

LAFAYETTE! by Nathan Hale. New York: Amulet Books, Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series, 2018. 128p. ISBN 978-1419731488 hc. $13.99     Gr. 4-6     JUV GRAPHIC

It's amazing to see how Hale creates a complete graphic story with only the colors of black, white, red and various shades of gray and pink.  Hale writes an irreverent biography of the Marquis de Lafayette who was born to French nobility and became an orphan at the age of 13.  He followed in his father's footsteps and went on to lead a life of adventure in the military.  Unlike his father, who was killed in battle, Lafayette lived to become a military hero in the American Revolution.  Don't miss the tale within a tale, highlighted with a red border around the pages - visible by looking at the edge of the closed book. It's titled, "Benedict Arnold: Super Good Super Bad" and tells the famous story of America' most well-known traitor - in condensed form with half-sized story blocks. Although the Hazardous Tales series allows for artistic license in both writing and illustration, the information is historic. Readers will learn American history with even trying.

Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

MY FOREST IS GREEN by Darren Labeuf.  Illus. by Ashley Barron.  Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2019.  32p.  ISBN 978-1771389802 hc. $16.99     PreS - Gr. 1     E PIC

Barron's cut paper collage provides a colorful, textured background for a young boy who loves the forest.  He describes the forest from a youngster's perspective, using descriptive words such as, "My forest is rough.  My forest is smooth," to match his experiences with different tree barks.  He incorporates the seasons to talk about "crispy" fall leaves, as opposed to the "soft" green leaves of summer.  The book also includes an inside look at the young nature lover's journal, revealing a watercolor page of invented color names to describe the plants and animals being referred to, such as "carefree red" for a ladybug and "tiptoe gray" for a bird walking by. At the end of the day, the boy brings the forest home with him by wallpapering his room in drawings from his journal.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Thursday, April 25, 2019

ENDLING:  THE LAST by Katharine Applegate.  New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.  400p.  ISBN 978-0062335524 hc. $17.99    Gr. 3-6    JUV

In this fast-paced fantasy for middle schoolers, Byx, a doglike creature who walks upright, can detect when anyone is lying, and has the ability to glide like a flying squirrel, is immediately on the run as she is pursued by human hunters.  Arrows whiz past her as she glides from the top of a cliff to rescue a wobbyk named Tobble, who becomes her fast friend.  The youngest of the litter of an almost-extinct species of dairnes, Byx returns home with Tobble in tow to find that the human hunters have killed her entire dairne community.  She is now an endling - the last of her kind.  All alone, she joins forces to travel with Khara, a human tracker who disguises herself as a boy for safety.  The two search for allies in a world where different species vie for political dominance; and find themselves in league with a tiger-like felivet and flying raptidons.  Natural enemies form partnerships in order to survive against others with evil intentions.  Applegate’s award-winning writing style claimed the Newbery Medal in 2013 for THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN.  With other titles such as HOME OF THE BRAVE and ROSCOE RILEY RULES, readers can be confident that the Endling series will continue to be as dynamic as this first installment.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, April 19, 2019

LOVE by Matt de la Pena.  Illus. by Loren Long.  New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2018.  32p. ISBN 978-152474091-7 hc. $17.99    Gr. Pre-4    E PIC

There is no main character.  This story is everyone's story.  It's about love - a universally felt emotion that is expressed in different ways by different people from different cultures.  Some of us associate love with music, food, or nature; some with family and friends.  The author even takes readers through hard times when love is elusive.  All readers will relate to one or more of the situations.  Add Long's vibrant and textured illustrations for a total reading experience.  On the second-to-last page of the book, people are shown boarding a train for places unknown, accompanied by the love of those left behind.  What reader could feel sad when the bright raindrop-covered umbrellas make our eyes dance and our lips smile?  Readers will "love" this book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Saturday, April 13, 2019

WILD HORSE ANNIE: Friend of the Mustangs by Tracey Fern.  Illus. by Steven Salerno. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2019. 48p.  ISBN 978-0374303068 hc. $17.99   Gr. 1-4    E PIC

Consider this a visual version of WILD HORSE ANNIE AND THE LAST OF THE MUSTANGS: THE LIFE OF VELMA JOHNSTON by David Cruise (2010).  Salerno's illustrations bring the story to life with textured backgrounds and outlined figures that pop off the page.  Horse lovers will appreciate the many mustangs portrayed with accuracy and beauty.  Horse lover, Velma Bronn Johnston, interacted with mustangs as a child, but was interrupted in her eleventh year when she caught polio.  The disease left her with a bent spine and constant aches, but Velma never faltered in her love for horses.  One day she witnessed the cruel capture of mustangs which were then sold to the slaughterhouse for profit, and decided to take action to protect the horses.  She attended town meetings, spoke to the Nevada Senate, and wrote letters to government lawmakers.  She soon earned the nickname "Wild Horse Annie" and engaged the help of school children to join her in writing letters to the lawmakers in Washington D.C.  After Velma's twenty-year campaign, the U.S. Congress passed a federal law to protect wild horses on public lands in 1971. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, April 7, 2019

RED LIGHT, GREEN LION by Candace Ryan.  Illus. by Jennifer Yerkes.  Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2019.  32p.  ISBN 978-152530015-8 hc. $16.99    Gr. K-3    E PIC

This entire story takes place on a city corner while lion waits for the stop light to change from red to green. The experience becomes a word game as lion repeats the phrase, "Red light, green li..." and imagines what could happen with other words instead of "light."  The creative wordplay is perfectly supplemented by Yerkes' line drawings that consistently feature the stoplight and delightfully illustrate the "li..." words.  Once the red fireflies leave the light and the green fireflies replace them, the story comes to a conclusion.  Parents and teachers may want to model some language activities from this playful text.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, April 1, 2019

BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE by Brian Selznick and David Serlin.  Illus. by Brian Selznick.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2018. 190p.  ISBN 978-133818061-9 hc. $16.99    Gr. K-4     JUV

Selznick comes through again with his characteristic textured pencil drawings that won the 2008 Caldecott Award for THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET (2007) and additional recognition for WONDERSTRUCK (2011) and THE MARVELS (2015).  BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE has easy, repetitious text in large print for beginning readers, alongside text-rich views of Baby Monkey's office with book titles and art prints that give lots of hints about the crime.  Turn to the back of the book for Serlin's contribution  - the documentation of historical artifacts in the office.  The pint-sized detective predictably looks for clues, writes notes, has a healthy snack, and dresses himself before quickly solving each crime.  Baby Monkey has a little trouble putting on his pants, an activity drawn so skillfully that readers will have to suppress a string of giggles.  When the detective finally gets out of his office, there's always a set of tracks leading to the thief.  Readers can try to guess the thief''s identity based on the size and pattern of the tracks.  This book is filled with fun - and leads to a sweet ending.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

THE DAY WAR CAME by Nicola Davies.  Illus. by Rebecca Cobb.  Somerville, Mass:  Candlewick Press, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-153620173-4 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

On a typical day, a young girl begins her day at home with family and goes to school where she studies in the company of her friends.  "Just after lunch," the noise of war edges closer and, as war arrives, the bright illustrations quickly transition to gray clouds of confusion.  Separated from all that is familiar, the girl becomes a refugee and joins a crowd of others to find safety.  Davies presents a powerful story about the universal devastation of war and how hard it is to rebuild your life afterwards.  Upon finding a school, a symbol of safety for her, the girl is turned away at the door because the war left a shortage of chairs for students to sit on.  There is no room for her.  However, the other refugee children bring her a chair and welcome her to class.  As the illustrations depict color once again, readers regain a sense of hope for an end to all wars.  The impact of this story, along with Cobb's illustrations will stay with readers for a long time.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

I WALK WITH VANESSA: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet.  New York: Schartz & Wade Books.  32p.  ISBN 978-15247-6955-0 hc. $17.99     Gr. Pre-2     E PIC

Kerascoet, nom de plume for the French artists Sebastien Cosset and Marie Pommepuy, creatively illustrated this wordless book with the most thoughtful message of helping someone who is being bullied.  Vanessa, the only character with a name, enters a new school and separates herself from the others because she doesn't have a circle of friends yet.  One of the students targets the vulnerability of a new student and confronts her with a verbal attack.  The girl in the yellow dress witnesses the bully behavior, which troubles her the rest of the evening.  In the morning, she gets an idea of how to help Vanessa assimilate into the group of classmates.  Read the title to guess how she helps.  The theme of kindness is a learning experience for young children and a reminder for the rest.   This beautifully illustrated book conveys the message perfectly.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

WE DON'T EAT OUR CLASSMATES by Ryan T. Higgins.  Hew York:  Disney-Hyperion, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-136800355-1 hc. $17.99      Gr. Pre-1     E PIC

There's no doubt about how hard it is for young children to behave well when they start school.  There are a lot of new rules to follow.  Teachers can be heard saying, "We don't hit our classmates," or variations of that reminder for the first few weeks of class.  The author finds it much more fun to exaggerate the issue by introducing Penelope Rex, a T-rex dinosaur, who must be reminded not to eat her delicious classmates.  Eating classmates is not tolerated by her teacher, parents or the other students, who quickly learn to avoid Penelope.  Breaking bad habits proves difficult, until the classroom pet goldfish gives Penelope a fright by biting her instead.  Penelope decides to stick to the rules and make friends of her classmates instead of eating them.  The clever text is supported by colorful illustrations that make readers laugh out loud.  Don't miss the page showing Penelope in the cafeteria, tapping her plate and telling a classmate "You can sit here," in a speech bubble outside the regular text.  This book is pure fun.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Friday, March 8, 2019

HIGH by David Sheff and Nic Sheff.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2019.  263p. ISBN 978 0544644342 hc. $16.99     Gr. 7-12     NF 616.86

This book arrived in the mail today.  A library patron asked me to locate TWEAK: GROWING UP ON METHAMPHETAMINES yesterday.  Nic Sheff is an author/co-author of both books that talk about using drugs in your teen years and beyond.  It was a coincidence, but I was intrigued to know what he was telling teens about drug use.  I read the whole book - the scientific research of drug use written by Nic's father, bestselling author of BEAUTIFUL BOY and CLEAN: OVERCOMING ADDICTION, along side the autobiographical testimony of Nic, who experimented with alcohol, marijuana, pills, and methamphetamine.  He made the progression from experimentation to addiction, from treatment to sobriety, and relapsed to repeat the cycle again and again.  HIGH is separated into four parts:  America's Relationship with Drugs, Four Categories of Drugs, Living with Addiction, and The Struggle of Recovery.  The sections are short enough for intermittent reading, and the page design helps to lighten up the serious nature of the book. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Saturday, March 2, 2019

GHOST BOYS by Jewell Parker Rhodes. New York:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 224p. ISBN: 978-0316262286 hc. $16.99   Gr. 4-8   JUV

12 year-old Jerome has just been shot in the back by a white Chicago police officer who thought the black youth was carrying a real gun, rather than plastic one.  How can he be dead when he's still here with his family?  He soon realizes he's a ghost - and not the only one.  There's a whole army of ghost boys, wrongfully killed because of their skin color - including the ghost of Emmett Till, killed in 1955 for supposedly whistling at a white woman in the segregated state of Mississippi.  Emmett tells his side of the story and asks Jerome to join him in the mission to heal race relations, starting with his own family and that of the police officer who shot him.  His sister, grandmother, and parents can't see or hear him, but Sarah, the police officer's daughter can. Readers also learn Jerome's story, how he and his new friend Carlo were bullied at school, and the events leading up to the fatal shooting.  The book highlights racial profiling and provides updates to the Emmett Till murder, along with questions for group discussion.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, February 24, 2019

12 LUCKY ANIMALS: A Bilingual Baby Book by Vickie Lee.  Illus. Joey Chou.  New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2018.  ISBN 978-1250-184245 board bk. $7.99     Pre-K    JUV

Celebrate the Chinese New Year bilingually, with a board book in English and Chinese.  Lee introduces readers to the zodiac of astral animals in a twelve year cycle of personality traits.  Beginning with the rat, ox, and tiger, the book names each animal in English, in Chinese, and offers a phonetic version of the Chinese character (for English speakers).  The illustrations picture each animal alongside its name, opposite a full-view of the colorful creatures.  The layout is simple, but effective.  In addition to reading this book to babies and preschoolers, it's fun for older readers to compare themselves to the personality traits describing each zodiac sign.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, February 18, 2019

ACCIDENT! by Andrea Tsurumi. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. 32p. ISBN: 978-0-544-94480-0 hc. $17.99. Gr. K-3     E PIC

This lively book is full of fiasco, disasters, and calamities. It all begins when Lola knocks over a jug of juice on her parents' best chair.  Poor Lola panics and decides to run away to the library.  Along the way, she meets lots of other friends in similar situations.  This fun book emulates how a simple "I'm sorry," for a accident can prevent it from growing into something bigger; and yes, even adults have accidents!  Illustrations are large, fun and silly which adds to the story. Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

MICHELLE OBAMA by Alison Oliver.  Be Bold Baby series. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.  ISBN 978-1-32851989-4 bb. $9.99    PreS - K    JUV
OPRAH by  Alison Oliver.  Be Bold Baby series. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.  ISBN 978-1-32851990-0 bb. $9.99    PreS - K    JUV

Be Bold Baby series offers a brief biography of well known female role models, in this case, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.  These 20-page board books feature an inspirational snippet on one page and a personal quote on the next to give readers an idea of why the subject of the book is famous.  Hopefully, a caregiver or teacher will read the book to the intended preschool audience and add historical and cultural information to supplement the sparse text.   The inspiration for readers comes from the good works and positive attitudes of Michelle and Oprah.  Perhaps there will soon be additional titles in this series.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

GOT TO GET TO BEAR'S! by Brian Lies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 32p. ISBN: 978-0-544-94882-2 hc. $17.99. Gr. K-2 E PIC

Bear never asks for anything, but when she sends an urgentnote to Izzy to "please come at once," there is no refusing her! The weather is fine when the little chipmunk heads out with her lantern. But as the snow falls harder, she can go no further, until she meets her friend Scritch the squirrel who takes her above the snow thru the treetops. When the treetops end they have to stop, until Bingle lands nearby to fly them through the air .... and so the story goes until they all arrive at Bear's door. A funny book with beautiful illustrations, this story of friendship and celebration will delight youngsters.
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Thursday, January 31, 2019

HEY KIDDO: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarrett Krosoczka. New York: Graphix, 2018. 305p. ISBN 978-054590248-9 pbk. $14.99.    Gr. 7-12     921KR    Y.A.

Some kids are saved by music; some by reading or caring for animals. Jarrett was saved by drawing. His attachment to art could explain why his autobiography is also a graphic novel. As the subtitle implies, Jarrett's childhood experience is commonplace today, but still needs to be told. Jarrett was born to a single mom with a drug problem that led to stealing, dealing, and inability to hold down a job. Within a few years, it became apparent that the grandparents needed to take custody of Jarrett, with help from his aunts who were still in high school. Although Jarrett didn't find out all the facts of his parentage until he was also in high school, or that his mom had been in and out of jail for years on drug charges, he felt the  absence of his biological parents. He was very aware of the generational differences between his grandparents and his friends' parents. While his mother popped in and out of his life, his grandparents were always there for him, encouraging his ambitions with art classes and good schools. In spite of the angst that accompanies teenage years, Jarrett finally tracked down his father and tried to accept a new relationship with the man who denied his existence from birth. Jarrett's artwork effectively conveys his emotional journey through the first 18 years of his life with a balanced color palette of sepia and gray panels laid out in readable order. It's a game-changer!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, January 25, 2019

MUDDY: THE STORY OF BLUES LEGEND MUDDY WATERS by Michael Mahin.  Illus. by Evan Turk. New York: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2017.  48p. ISBN: 978-1-4814-4349-4 hc. $17.99.     Gr. K-2     JUV 921

This book of inspiration and determination follows the challenges placed in the path of American blues legend, Muddy Waters, during his climb to fame. Raised by his grandmother Della, McKinley Morganfield, loved blues music from the time he was a small child.  He earned his nickname, Muddy, by playing in the mud of the Mississippi Delta.  He realized that sharecropping wasn't the life for him and left the South to play music in Chicago, where he blended the local jazz sound with the Delta blues to create his signature style of "Chicago Blues."  Evan Turk's bold, colorful collage illustrations supplement the text and bring music to the vibrant pages.   
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Saturday, January 19, 2019

QUIET WYATT: SUPER SHY - OR SUPERHERO? by Tammi Sauer. Illus. by Arthur Howard. New York: Clarion Books, 2018. 32p. ISBN: 978-0-544-11330-5 hc. $17.99 Gr. K-3 E PIC

Wyatt likes quiet! He prefers museums, non-speaking parts in the school play, and is a master at ninja camp. But when he is paired with noisy Noreen on a school field trip, he is pushed to the limit, breaking out of his shell to save the day. Despite all their differences, these opposites attract and become friends in the end. The illustrations enhance the story line and will keep early elementary listeners engaged in this fun story.
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Sunday, January 13, 2019

LIBBA: THE MAGNIFICENT MUSICAL LIFE OF ELIZABETH COTTEN by Laura Viers. Illus. by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-4521-4857-1 hc. $17.99 Gr. 1-3 JUV NF 921

Elizabeth Cotten was one of America's gifted folk musicians, but her story followed an unconventional and sometimes bumpy road. Learning to play guitar at a young age, self taught on a backwards and upside-down guitar, Libba (short for Elizabeth) also learned the banjo and wrote her most famous song, Freight Train, at age 11. She was not truly discovered until later in life when she came to work for the famous musical Seeger family. This story follows the life of an African American woman through the early 1900's and the challenges they faced because of their darker skin color. Though there were few opportunities for a young black female musician in her early years, Elizabeth put down the guitar until her 40's when she was finally able to spend the next forty years writing, touring and sharing her joy of music with the world.
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Monday, January 7, 2019

BRILLIANT DEEP: REBUILDING THE WORLD'S CORAL REEF by Kate Messner. Illus. by Matthew Forsythe. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2018.  ISBN: 978-1-4521-3350-8 hb. $17.99 Gr. 1-3 JUV 921

The story follows Ken Nedimyer's curiosity and love for the ocean. After watching his beloved coral reefs slow death in the Florida Keys, his determination spawned an idea for their rebirth. He now travels the world to help other countries rebuild their dying reefs. One good idea can spark and encourage another and then another... There is information on more books to read on the oceans and coral reefs, how kids can help, and where inquisitive readers can explore online. A vocabulary page is also included to help children understand some of the scientific language used.
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

THE SECRETS OF NINJA SCHOOL by Deb Pilutti. Henry Holt and Company, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-1-62779-649-1 hc. $17.99    Gr. 1-2   E PIC

Ruby looked forward to attending Master Willow's School for Ninjas to discover her own secret skill, as well as ninja jumps, kicks, patience, and stealth.  She practiced the ways of the ninja and tried to be patient while the other students found their secret skills.  Ruby did not find hers...until one night when everyone confided that they were all homesick. Ruby wanted to help the other students feel better, so she made them all a stuffed dragon to sleep with and told them stories - just her father did for her when she couldn't sleep. She found that her skills were there the whole time. The author shares Ruby's Dragon Softie pattern with readers who also want to develop a new skill.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI