Tuesday, April 26, 2016

TWELVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT by Christopher Edge. Chicago:  
Albert Whitman & Co. 2014. 252p. ISBN: 978-0-8075-8133-9 hc. 
$16.99  Gr. 5-8   JUV 

Penelope Treadwell is a 13 year old girl in Victorian England. 
Her family owns a magazine called "Penny Dreadful." Penelope 
writes mysteriy stories in the magazine under a pen name 
Montgomery Finch. One day, Penelope receives a letter from the 
Bedlam madhouse requesting help in solving a mystery. She hires 
an actor to portray her alter-ego, and together they go to 
investigate the mystery at the madhouse. The first story in the 
Penelope Tredwell Mysteries, it will engage readers from beginning 
to end. The descriptions of Victorian England and the historical 
details are very well balanced for middle schoolers. 
Melissa Coyne, Library Volunteer, Munising School Public Library

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New York: Simon & Schuster Books, 2014. 255p. 
ISBN:978-1-4424-4976-3 hc. $15.99.  Gr. 6-10  JUV

This sequel to SMALL ACTS OF AMAZING COURAGE (2011) continues 
to follow the life of Rosalind James, torn between the world 
she lives in with her strict father, a major in the British 
Indian Army, and the wider world of India, where followers of 
Gandhi spread the message of peace and independence.  When she 
gets the opportunity to meet the Prince of Wales, who is 
visiting the area, she must decide whether to speak up about 
the poverty and caste restrictions she sees in the streets of 
India, or stay loyal to the ruling British government. This 
book is engaging and gives readers a broader view of the world 
around them.
Melissa Coyne, Volunteer, Munising School Public Library

Monday, April 11, 2016

SOLVING THE PUZZLE UNDER THE SEA by Robert Burleigh. Illus. by Raul Colon. New York:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. 32p. ISBN 978-14814-16009 hc. $17.99   Gr. 1-4   JUV NF

The story of Marie Tharp, mapmaker, is narrated in first person and begins with, "Maps. I love them."  She tells about growing up with a family that moved from state to state as her father was commissioned to make maps around the country.   She graduated from college in 1948, still in love with maps, but curious about land formations under the ocean.  Banned from science boats because she was a woman, Marie studied from shore and mapped out "soundings" which sent sound waves to the bottom of the ocean and echoed back to indicate the depth of the water.  She identified the very deep Mid-Atlantic Ridge which then served to further studies of plate tectonics.  Colon's amazing illustrations are created in watercolor on textured paper, accented with colored pencil and a wave effect that gives a 3-D look to the landscape.  There's a short biography of Marie Tharp, a glossary of geologic terms, and a research bibliography to round out the information in this beautiful book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

THE STORM by Akiko Miyakoshi. Tonawanda, NY:  Kids Can Press, 2016. 32p. ISBN 978-177138-5596 hc. $16.95. Originally published in Japan in 2009.  PreS - Gr. 2    E PIC

Told in first person narrative, this story is about a young boy who's been waiting all week to go to the beach with his family.  However, on Friday, his teacher announces the imminent arrival of a large weather system that may change plans for a beach day.  As the family prepares for the storm, which arrives with more ferocity than expected, the narrator tries not show his fear.  Finally sleep overtakes him and he dreams of adventures at sea.  The next day is bright and sunny and "Perfect for a day at the beach!"  As readers turn the page, they are rewarded with blue sky after a whole book of grey charcoal drawings that set the ominous, anxious tone of the story. Watch for the grey striped cat that appears on almost every page of this beautifully drawn and simply written story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI