Tuesday, August 9, 2022

THE SECRET SIGNS OF NATURE by Craig Caudill. Illus. by Carrie Shryock.  New York:  Magic Cat Publishing, 2022.  58p.  ISBN 978-141975927-7 hb. $22.99     Gr. 2-5     J 796.5233

The subtitle to this book is, "How to Uncover Hidden Clues in the Sky, Water, Plants, Animals, and Weather," which covers most of the topics.  To get started, readers should rely on their senses, and learn how to use a compass before setting out in larger spaces.  Learn how to predict a thunderstorm by looking at the clouds, find out why mushrooms grow in certain areas of the forest, discover the phases of the moon, and much more.  The pages are designed with circles and rectangles of information integrated into each illustration for easy reading.  Anyone who spends time outdoors will appreciate the knowledge gained from reading this book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

THE FANTASTIC FLYING COMPETITION by Tjibbe Veldkamp and Sebastiaan Van Donink. Translated from Dutch by Kristen Gehrman.  New York: Abrams Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-184976761-3 hb. $16.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

The Fantastic Flying Competition is for birds only, but they're not flying on their own.  Each flock has some sort of flying machine entered in the contest.  They're all ready, except for the owls who stayed awake all night and overslept again.  This text has the cadence of a horse race or Indy 500, with vivid descriptions of the birds and their machines.  After the flamingos drop out and the hawks eject from their plane, the ostriches and penguins leave the race and the field narrows down.  Whooo will win the race?  Read every page for an exciting finish.  The illustrations are bright and seem to move with action.  This book will delight young readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, July 18, 2022

RICKY RICOTTA'S MIGHTY ROBOT series by Dav Pilkey. Illus. by Dan Santat. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2012 - 2016, 125p.  E READER    Gr. 2-4

There are nine books in this fun, predictable, easy to read, graphic novel series.  The first book establishes the team of Ricky Ricotta of Squeakyville and his Mighty Robot.  Together they fight and defeat evil villains from each of the nine planets.  There are the Mutant Mosquitos from Mercury, Voodoo Vultures from Venus, Mecha-Monkeys from Mars, Jurassic Jackrabbits from Jupiter, Stupid Stinkbugs from Saturn, Uranium Unicorns from Uranus, Nasty Nightcrawlers from Neptune, and Unpleasant Penguins from Pluto, each with an over-the-top villain who ends up in the local jail.  Beginning readers will soon recognize words and phrases that have been repeated in each story.  The illustrations are fabulous, combining pages in comic book format with most in regular text.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Thursday, July 7, 2022

FRANCIS DISCOVERS POSSIBLE by Ashlee Latimer. Illus. by Shahrzad Maydani. New York: Abrams Books, 2022. 32p.  ISBN 978-1419749100 hc. $17.99      Gr. K-2      E PIC

Francis loved going to school and learning the magic of words.  When the letter "f" was chosen as the beginning sound for words, one of the classmates whispered "fat like Francis."  Soon she could think of nothing else, but how that word made her feel small and alone.  After consulting with her father, she started to think of other words that made her feel good, capable, and happy.  The word "possible" was the best word, as it held opportunities that were yet to come.  The illustrations are composed of pastels and watercolor, beautifully depicting Francis and the emotions she experiences in the story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN: The Yorktown Victory That Won America's Independence by Tim Grove. New York: Abrams Young Readers, 2022.  ISBN: 978-1419749940 hc. $19.99      Gr. 5-9      J 973.3 

Covering the American Revolution from the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, Grove delivers a chronological accounting of the battles and politics that shaped America.  The author introduces major players in this period of history and follows events in 22 chapters of information.  The addition of portraits, documents, and maps add relevance to the informational text.  The book also includes a follow-up on notable leaders of the Revolutionary War and an extensive timeline to keep track of events during the period.  The book design deserves a shout out to Melissa Jane Barrett because of its bordered pages, captioned illustrations, and reading aids precisely laid out at the back of the book.  Recommendations should be extended beyond the middle school audience, as the story should appeal to adults, as well.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

BATTER ROYALE by Leisl Adams. New York: Amulet Books, 2022. 234p. ISBN: 978-141975075-5 hc. $24.99   Gr. 9-12   YA GRAPHIC

This graphic novel uses the perfect recipe for teen romance.  Seventeen-year-old Rose is waitressing at the local restaurant to earn her way into a top-rated cooking school.  To accelerate the process, she enters a televised baking competition that offers a substantial prize for winning.  There's just one hitch; the contest requires that she have a baking partner.  She convinces her friend Fred, a reluctant prep cook at the restaurant where she works, to join her.  As the competition heats up and teams are eliminated, the dominant team seems to be led by Nicole, a nasty person who will lie and cheat to win.  In addition to being devious, Nicole is quite attentive to Fred.  When the competition narrows down to the teams led by Rose and Nicole, the rules of the contest change.  Can this story have a happy ending?  The graphics reflect actual body types and the dialogue is easy to follow, making it accessible to most audiences. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST: The Why Files - All About Plants! by Andrea Beaty and Dr. Theanne Griffith.  New York: Amulet Books, 2022. 76p.  ISBN: 978-1419761515 hb. $12.99    Gr. 1-3    E Reader

The look of this book is similar to other Ada Twist stories by Beaty, but is actually adapted from the Netflix series.  It's full of photos and graphics to supplement the information text.  Although it lacks a table of contents, topic sections are noted by the "The Why Files Facts" heading.  Ada guides readers through the parts of a plant, how to care for these botanical wonders, and why plants are important to people.  There are a couple of science experiments at the back of the book for a hands-on approach to learning about plants.  Beaty's degree in biology combines well with Griffith's interest in STEM-themed stories to make a new series for young readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855