Thursday, June 25, 2015

THERE'S A LION IN MY CORNFLAKES by Michelle Robinson. Illustrated by Jim Field.  New York:  Bloomsbury, 2015.  32p.  ISBN 9780802-738363 hc. $16.99   Gr. K-3   E PIC

Robinson takes readers on an adventure that many of us have already lived through, but with more imagination.  Two brothers are intrigued by the offer of a "free lion" on their cereal box; the catch being that they have to save up 100 coupons from 100 boxes of cereal.  They ate the cereal for every meal, cut the coupons, and sent their letters to the cereal company requesting their free lion, just like every other kid in the neighborhood.  They waited and waited, even though everyone else took delivery of their prize.  Soon the boys received a grizzly bear and, when they wrote to the company to complain, received a crocodile....and then a gorilla because the company was all out of lions.  The brothers learned their lesson that there are limitations to corporate offers and marketing schemes....or have they?  Check out the last page for a chuckle.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

ASK ME by Bernard Waber. Illustrated by Suzy Lee.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2015. 32p. ISBN 978-054773394-4 hc. $16.99  PreS - Gr.2   E PIC

Waber, award winning author of LYLE, LYLE CROCODILE and IRA SLEEPS OVER, actually died in 2013, leaving this tender story of a young girl and her father as they walk through their neighborhood. The girl talks the whole time, observing the animals and insects along the way.  She plays word games with her father who asks if she likes ice cream cones, to which she replies, "No, I love, love, love ice cream cones."  The conversation is realistic and a good language model for emerging readers.  Suzy Lee's illustrations look like colored pencil drawings; textured and subtle. She made an impact with a beautiful cover design and a full page spread of father and daughter taking a rest in a pile of fallen leaves.  This is a great read-aloud book for children.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

THE SECRET PLACE by Tana French. Viking, 2014. 464p. ISBN 978-0670026326 hc. $18.98.  Ages 14+  AFIC or Y.A.

I confess that I listened to this story in its CD book format instead of turning the pages.  Either way, the story features a Dublin detective, Moran, and a new partner, Conway, who end up working the same cold case - the murder of a 16 year-old boy that took place at a reputable girls boarding school the previous year.  A new clue has turned up and the detective duo head for the school to interview two groups of roommates who rank high on the suspicion scale.  Both groups have alpha females and very loyal friends, always watching out for each other.  As with any good mystery, the prime suspect changes often, keeping readers guessing who the killer is.  The author switches the storyline between present day and one year ago, letting the murder unfold in one chapter, and coming back to the present in the next chapter, as the detectives interview each girl in turn to sort out the truth.

THE SECRET PLACE, part of the Dublin Murder Squad series, is fifth in the series, but was easy to follow as a separate novel.  Since the story centers around the lives of teenagers, it would also be interesting for high school students, who may recognize some of their friends' mannerisms and speech patterns in these characters.  It seems that teens are similar whether they live in the U.S. or Ireland.  These girls are just a little scarier because of the secrets they hide.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Thursday, June 11, 2015

THE ADVENTURES OF SOPHIE MOUSE: A NEW FRIEND by Poppy Green. Illus. by Jennifer A. Bell.  New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2015. 64p. ISBN 978-14814-28330 hc. $16.99.  Gr. 2-4  JUV

Green's series of early chapter books features Sophie Mouse and her realm of forest friends who include frogs, squirrels, rabbits, moles, and assorted birds.  Her classroom teacher, Mrs. Wise, is the proverbial wise old owl.  Sophie is a good little mouse with many friends, who likes school and always has a helping hand for her little brother.  However, Sophie was surprised on the first day of school by the addition of a new student - a snake.  After a few misconceptions about the character and habits of snakes, the forest friends found that they could welcome a new friend into their group.  The characters are reminiscent of "Peter Rabbit" and the animal stories written by Beatrix Potter. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

THE COW LOVES COOKIES by Karma Wilson. Illustrated by Marcellus Hall.  Margaret K. McElderry Books: New York, 2010.  32p. ISBN 978-14169-42061 hc. $17.99   Grades PreS - 2    E PIC

Following the pattern of Wilson's "Bear" collection of stories, this is a rhythmic, rhyming story about farm animals.  Readers follow Farmer to each animal's farm habitat as he feeds them.  The horse eats hay, the chickens eat chicken feed, the geese eat cracked corn, the pigs eat slop, and so on until the cow interrupts the flow of the story by sneaking cookies from the kitchen window and the farmer's lunch.  As the story continues, the food and animal combination is repeated., "Of Course, we know the horse loves hay. And chickens love their feed each day......"  The story has good meter for reading aloud to any audience and the illustrations are large with black outline, making them visible to a large group of children. Wilson has quite a repertoire of children's books, all delightful.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI