Tuesday, August 30, 2016

TEN HUNGRY PIGS by Derek Anderson.  New York: Orchard Books, 2016. 32p.  SIBN 978-045416848-9 hc.$16.99    PreS - Gr. 2    E PIC

Anderson's ten pigs are quite clean after TEN PIGS: An Epic Bath Adventure, and are now looking for a snack.  As Pig One is ready to take a bite of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Pig Two runs up to add pickles, followed by Pigs Three through Ten, who add interesting foods to the sandwich.  Finally, Pig Eleven, who turns out to be a wolf of sorts, chases all the pigs away except one pig.  The story, written in rhyme, is fast moving, funny, and has a plot twist!  The illustrations are huge two-page spreads of very distinctive and comical pigs.  Readers will laugh out loud at the antics and expressions of these "Ten Hungry Pigs."
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

ADA'S VIOLIN: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood. Illus. by Sally Wern Comport. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. 32p. ISBN 978-1-4814 3095-1 hc. $17.99    Gr. 2-5    JUV NF 784.206

Imagine living in Cateura, Paraguay, a dumping ground for garbage from the capital city, Asuncion, and one of the poorest slums in the South American continent.  Ada Rios lived there, as had her parents and grandparents.  Her life didn't look any different, until an environmental engineer, Favio Chavez, was sent to town to teach safety practices to the gancheros who recycled materials from the huge garbage piles to earn a living.  Chavez noticed kids wandering around the streets when their parents were at work and offered them music lessons.  His initial supply of three guitars and two violins wasn't enough for the crowd that showed up, so he built more instruments from recycled materials.  The music lessons inspired the youth of Cateura to practice hard and they soon became an orchestra, playing well enough to perform at venues around the country.  The Recycled Orchestra became nationally famous and continues to improve the lives of the residents of Cateura, including Ada.  See the author's notes for more information on this uplifting story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zentner. New York: Random House Children’s Books, 2016.  372p. ISBN 9780-55352402-4 hc. $17.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Dill Early comes from a long line of Pentecostal preachers who believe that their faith in the Lord will keep them safe from the poisonous serpents they handle during church services.  Dill's not so sure.  He tries his best to be a good son, but his repressive parents, who have fallen from grace, expect him to work toward paying off their debts without a thought to his welfare. Luckily, Dill has two good friends in Travis and Lydia.  Travis navigates the unpredictable actions of a drunkard father by retreating into the world of fantasy books.  Lydia has great parents who are genuine role models for the group, allowing her to achieve more in the academic and extra-curricular realm than the boys.  The three friends reveal their last year of high school to readers through conversation, glimpses into their home life, and individual plans for the future.  Zentner's first teen novel is a well-written study of life's unfairness, the differences in the families we grow up in, and the hopefulness of youth; told by each of the friends in their own chapters.  Keep your tissues close at hand for tears of joy and sorrow that may result from the reading of this memorable story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT by April Genevieve Tucholke.  Dial Books, 2016 256p.  ISBN 978-0803740488 hc. $17.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Midnight is a bit of a loner, living with his dad while trying to avoid the bullies at school, except for Poppy.  Poppy is the most popular (and feared) girl in school who tries to manipulate the boys by seducing them and the girls by making fun of them.  The only person she can't control is Lief Bell because he sees right through her false charms.  When family circumstances take Midnight and his dad to live on a farm across from the Bell home, he begins to spend more time with Wink, Leif's red-haired, freckled, unconventional sister who believes in heroes, villains, and the power of a good story.  Tucholke tells this story in three separate voices through the differing perspectives of Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. It’s difficult to tell who’s telling the truth and who’s telling their own twisted version of events with each retelling.  The truth doesn’t come out until a heart-stopping and mysterious incident that takes place in a haunted house. Tucholke will keep readers guessing until the very end.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

THE TEENY-TINY WOMAN by Paul Galdone.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1984.  32p.  ISBN 978-1544-641051 hc. $8.99   PreS-Gr.2   E PIC

Readers are in for a treat because Paul Galdone's Folk Tale Classics have been reprinted with hard covers at a paperback price.  This is the eleventh so far, joining titles such as THE THREE BEARS, HENNY PENNY, RUMPELSTILTSKIN, and THE LITTLE RED HEN - all childhood favorites.  My favorite, THE TEENY-TINY WOMAN is fun to read aloud to children in a group or individually, and can be used as a very gentle ghost story in your repertoire of Halloween tales.  The repetition of "teeny-tiny" can be used as a choral response from a group of listeners or as a visual cue when learning to read print.  The large text and abundance of illustrations make this cute, but suspenseful, story a quick read for all ages.