Friday, October 31, 2014

THE SWEETEST WITCH AROUND by Alison McGee. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. New York: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2014. 32p. ISBN: 978-1442478336  $15.99.
E PIC Gr. PreS-3

Although The Sweetest Witch Around takes its inspiration from Halloween, this is one holiday book you won't have to pack away with your decorations!  The storyline supports several touching themes including bravery, sisterly love, sugar addiction, and Halloween.  The narrator is a brave witch who is not afraid of humans like all the other witches.  It is her goal to teach her younger "witchling" sister to be brave, too.  In her first lesson, the witchling learns about Halloween and
candy-yuck.  Trouble begins when the younger sister tastes candy and determines it isn't yuck, but YUM!  The witchling steals her sister's broom, flies into town, and discovers it is Halloween night.  What will happen when the witchling lines up behind the costumed children for trick or treat? 
Your child will love the story and the wonderful costumes, but parents will love the book, too.  Artistic details, such as parents walking with their children on Halloween, children in great costumes, and attention to landscaping decorations, will give you and your child something to talk about after you've memorized the story.  Like end credits of your favorite movies, don't forget to check out the inside covers for an extra -ghoulish treat!
Christine Rathje, Librarian Assistant, Tahquamenon Area Library

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Curley, Marianne.  HIDDEN.   New York:  Bloomsbury Children’s Books., 2013.  325p.  978-1-59990-840-3;  hc.,  $17.99.    Gr.6 & up   YAF

For as long as she can remember, Ebony has had the uncomfortable feeling that her overprotective parents are strangers. Now sixteen, she often looks in the mirror and feels that she is a stranger to herself. Bewildering changes have begun to occur on her body and her hair changes color with her emotions. Frightened by the weird growths with feathers poking out which have suddenly appeared on her shoulders, she looks to her parents for answers to the questions swirling in her head and finally, the answers to her true identity.  Instead of giving her assurance and answers, they become frightened and warn her not to ask questions.
 When there is fire and explosion at the family farmhouse, Ebony’s parents are presumed dead and she is offered a home with her close friend Amber’s family, who welcome her with kindness and caring. Unfortunately  Ebony soon discovers that there is no safe haven for her. Luca, the dark prince wants Ebony’s soul, confusing her with his lies and trickery. Her friend Jordan feels a strong attraction to Ebony, and handsome magnetic Nathaneal comes to protect her and fight the dark forces as she falls in love with him.

Readers will be on alert for a sequel of this satisfying, if somewhat intricate story. Curley has created characters and a story that teens will enjoy.
Barbara Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some of your favorite detective series are now three dimensional – books in print for reading, books on CD for listening, and DVD for a total storytelling experience, often featuring well-known movie stars. 

INSPECTOR LYNLEY mysteries by Elizabeth George are set in contemporary England - the New Scotland Yard.  Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, also the 8th Earl of Asherton, teams up with Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers to form an unlikely, but effective partnership of detectives who solve some very complex crimes. Although the stories revolve around the crime-fighting duo of the aristocratic Lynley and working-class Havers, there’s a large cast of characters who are connected to each other in the most interesting ways.  Elizabeth George thoroughly explores their relationships and motivations in each book.  The newest in the series is titled, JUST ONE EVIL ACT. The DVD series, originally part of Masterpiece Mysteries from PBS, narrows down the storyline to the two main characters and the crimes themselves in order to fit the story into a 90 minute time frame. 
Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MILLIE AND THE BIG RESCUE by Alexander Steffenmeier. New York: Walker books for Young Readers, 2012. 32p. ISBN 978-0-8027-34020, hb., $16.99. Gr. K-3   E PIC

This story is a whole lot of fun - sure to have the little ones giggling throughout the book. Millie the cow and the other farm animals decide to play hide-and-seek. When all the good hiding places are taken, Millie still somehow manages to find the best spot at the top of a tree. When Millie can't get back down, the farm animals are happy to help. Even though nobody seems able to get her down, the animals stay calm. In fact, they've all joined Millie in the tree and make the best of their situation. Eventually, the mail carrier and fire department stop by and rescue the whole group.  It's a crazy fun book.
Mary Koshorek, Library Assistant, Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WEIGHT OF WATER by Sarah Crossan. New York:  Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2013.  221p.  978-1-59990-967-7; hc., $16.99.    Gr.6 & up    YAF
     With sensitivity and compassion, Crossan brings readers the story of 12 year old Kasienka. When her beloved father leaves them, Kasienka’s mother packs what fits into one bulging suitcase and a laundry bag, leaving their home and the only world Kasienka has ever known for London, determined to find her errant husband.
     In her new school, her teacher calls her Cassie, a name as foreign to Kasienka as a language she can barely speak. Unfriendly and often hostile classmates add to her unhappiness and discomfort. Comfortable and happy only when she is in the swimming pool, she meets a boy who will become a friend,  change her outlook and give her a goal which will help her keep afloat in her new bewildering, changing world.
Told in prose, this well written book is Kazienka’s journey to find her father, find a relationship with her mother and not least discover herself.  An asset to public and school libraries alike, it will be perfect for a reading list and discussion.
     Barbara Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library

Friday, October 3, 2014

INVASION by Walter Dean Myers.   New York:  Scholastic, Inc., 2013.  212p.  978-0-545-38428-5; hc., $17.99.    Gr.6 & up    YAF

In early 1944, recruits, including many teenagers, from all over America are caught in the fervor of war, joining the armed forces, eager to defend their country. Given the impression from their superiors that that the allies will easily dispatch the inferior German forces back to their homeland, Josiah and Marcus, two na├»ve teenage recruits, have no idea of the catastrophic events about to occur. The carnage of the D-Day invasion and the days that follow soon age them beyond their years as the ugly reality of war changes their lives forever.  Meyer gives a stark, factual picture of war, the horrors, fear and sacrifices that face our fighting men and women. Especially relevant in today’s world of continuing conflict.
Barbara Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library