Tuesday, January 25, 2022

OH MY GODS! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick. Illus by Juliana Moon. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. 202p.  ISBN 978-035829951-6 hc. $24.99     Gr. 4-8     J Graphic

Karen is a typical teen from New Jersey who likes to play video games with friends.  When her mom gets a new job that requires her to be out of town for some months, Karen is shipped off to live with her father on Mt. Olympus in Greece.  As she gets to know her dad and enrolls in school there, Karen finally catches on that she's in the company of mythological gods and goddesses.  Her father reveals that she is a demigod and her powers will emerge, but doesn't elaborate on what they might be.  Meanwhile, Karen and her new friends investigate the mystery of a classmate turned to stone in the library.  They find more stone bodies in the barn belonging to Medusa and her sisters, all homeschooled in order to isolate them from the public, and try to find a way to neutralize Medusa's gaze.  As things normalize around Mt. Olympus, readers are visually guided down dark corridors in the school building which lead to a locked door - and the next adventure in the series.  Don't miss Karen's handwritten notes at the back of the book that keep track of the gods and their powers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

TEN BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Molly Beth Griffin. Illus. by Maribel Lechuga.  Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2021. 32p. ISBN 978-1580899369 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

Readers will have to guess why Lily and her Gram are traveling an entire night and day to get to the farmhouse in Iowa.  Lily is obviously sad to be moving there, but Gram tells her to pass the time by looking for ten beautiful things along the way.  Together they find the sunrise, a river, a flock of birds, clouds, and a thunderstorm, to name a few.  By the time they reach Gram's farmhouse, all the beauty of nature seemed to fill up the hollow places that Lily felt at the beginning of the trip.  Her attitude changed during the journey, allowing her to make a new life with Gram.  Full-page spreads emphasize the beauty of nature, no matter where you live.  What an inspiration for young readers who may have already started a new life in a new location.  Discussion possibilities are endless.Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

FORTY WINKS: A Bedtime Adventure by Kelly DiPucchio. Illus. by Lita Judge.  New York: Abrams Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBn978-141974552-2 hc. $17.99     PreS - K     E PIC

Mr. and Mrs. Wink and their 38 children give readers an up-close look at their industrial sized bedtime routine.  With everyone's help, the young mice are bathed, clothed, and read to before being tucked into bed.  The rhyming text is clever and includes a rhythmic role call of all the mice children.  It's a hilarious scene with 38 moving parts!  The watercolor and pencil illustrations build a world of fantasy that lets readers imagine a mouse house with enough beds for everyone.  Pure fun!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

 ALLERGIC by Hegan Wagner Lloyd.  Art by Michelle Mee Nutter.  New York: Scholastic Graphix, 2021.  237p.  ISBN 978-133856891-2 hc. $24.99      Gr. 4-6     JUV Graphic

How would you feel if your body broke out in a rash whenever you were around animals, or ate eggs, or picked flowers or washed with certain soaps?  After a visit to the pet store to adopt a puppy, Maggie found out that she was allergic to all animals with fur or feathers.  This bad news was compounded by moving to a new school and the addition of a new baby in the family.  Maggie was not happy.  Things turned around for her when Claire moved in next door and a new friendship blossomed.  Their relationship endured a family of mice and Claire's new dog, but Maggie pulled through with a new understanding of her pesky brothers and open lines of communication with her parents.  Anyone who has ever been 10 years old will relate to this timely story.  The graphic novel format by Nutter is clear and easy to follow.Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

MEL FELL by Corey R. Tabor.  New York: Balzer & Bray, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978006287802-4 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Mel is a brave little bird who feels ready to fly.  Right now.  From her nest at the top of a very tall tree, she dove straight down, past a family of owls, a group of squirrels, a bee hive, a spider web, and a ladybug, into the water to catch a small fish.  Part of the adventure is the visual element of Mel falling through page after page, until she hits the water, snags a fish and, as readers turn the book, she flies back up the tree to the nest.  The critters cheer as she passes them again in the other direction.  The Author's Note is a short paragraph about kingfishers (like Mel) who live near water and dive for fish.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

OUR TABLE by Peter H. Reynolds.  New York: Orchard Books, 2021.  48p.  ISBN 978-133857232-2 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

Violet's family spent many happy hours together at the family table, sharing meals and making memories.  Then, "Violet found herself alone at the table" more often, as her family began using their electronic devices instead of talking with each other.  The illustrations turn a disconcerting purple while Violet evaluates her father watching TV, her mother texting on the cell phone, and her brother playing online games.  While she thinks about a plan of action, the family table begins to shrink until it disappears altogether.  Violet breaks through each electronic barrier and works with her family members to build a new table.  As the colors return to the page, Violet's family makes new memories together, bigger and better than before.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

NICKY & VERA: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sis. New York: Norton Young Readers, 2021.  64p. ISBN 978-132401574-1 hc. $19.95     Gr. 3-7     J 940.5318 SI

Sis reveals his amazing storytelling skills by tackling the topic of the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, while keeping the reader's interest with imagery composed of pattern, intricate detail, and muted colors.  It is a dual story of Vera, who was one of the children rescued from Czechoslovakia and taken to England by train.  That kindertrain, and many others like it, was organized by Nicholas Winton, a London banker who financed the transport of Czech children to England in 1939, as the German army advanced to take over Eastern Europe.  With sparse text blended into full-page illustrations, Sis rolls out history in an honest fashion.  Historical notes are included at the back of the book. Readers will want to read it a second time to notice more information discreetly incorporated into the illustrations.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI