Tuesday, November 29, 2016

MONSTER SCIENCE: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive!) in the Real World? by Helaine Becker.  Illus. by Phil McAndrew.  Tonawanda, NY:  Kids Can Press, 2016.  96p.  ISBN 978-177138-0546 hc. $18.95    Gr. 4-8    J NF 001.944

Let's talk about the legends behind the world's most famous monsters that have frightened people for hundreds of years.  This book covers the historical origins of classic monsters such as Frankenstein, Bigfoot, vampires, zombies, werewolves, and sea monsters, including "Monster Facts" about each one that ties modern science into the folklore that surrounds these scary creatures.  The Frankenstein chapter delves into electricity and how it affects the body.  Readers learn the "Story of Blood" in the vampire chapter.  Bigfoot, also called Sasquatch and the abominable snowman in different parts of the world inspires discussion on evolution and hoaxes.  The zombie chapter informs readers about diseases and the limits of the human body, while genetics dominates the werewolf chapter.  Finally, facts about sea monsters are closely tied to the depths of the ocean and habitat for unusual fish.  The illustration and book layout are perfect for reading several pages at a time, as there are headings and graphics on each page.  There's a summary and quiz at the end of each chapter to help readers retain these awesome facts about monsters.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

CHICK 'N' PUG: THE LOVE PUG by Jennifer Sattler.  New York:  Bloomsbury, 2015.  36p. ISBN 978-161963-6729 hc. $16.99    PreS-Gr. 1    E PIC

Who doesn't love a pug?  This book has two adorable pugs and one cool chick.  Daisy is precious with her southern charm and her determination to win the attention of Pug.  Pug plays it cool, while Chick tries to further impress Daisy with tales of Pug's heroic deeds.  When Pug wakes up from a nap and finds Chick in trouble, he attempt to save Chick in a way that fails to impress Daisy, who then ends up rescuing him.  After much adventure, the trio is tired out and they all need a nap.  Together, they are a picture of love, friendship, and contentment.  Sattler's illustrations are just too cute and add dimension to the story.  This is my first time reading a Chick 'n' Pug book, but it won't be the last.  Other titles about these cute characters include,  CHICK 'n PUG MEET THE DUDE, PUDDLE PUG, and CHICK'N' PUG CHRISTMAS.
Mary Koshorek, Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

CONSENT by Nancy Ohlin.  New York: Simon Pulse, 2015.  269p. ISBN: 978-1442464902 hc. $17.99       Gr. 9-12      YA FIC

This challenging tale scores points for exposure, diversity, and open-mindedness.  Bea struggles with family and friend relationships, and has fallen in love with her teacher, who reciprocates her feelings.  As an added complication to their relationship, Bea is not yet an adult.  Under-aged consent becomes the major theme and struggle in Bea's tale.  Ohlin introduces these layering struggles with relationships from the voice of an unreliable narrator: an authentic teenager.  Throughout, Bea's artistic connection to her music brings light amid the struggle.  In the end, some aspects are smoothed over, and the story prefers romance over preaching a lesson, which leaves it to readers to decide for themselves about the conflicts and ultimate resolution.  This is a good option if you are looking for a safe experience to expose youth to the ideas and conflicts surrounding consent, relationships, and how to turn experiences, even negative ones, into stepping stones as they move into the adult world.
Chelsea Paige, Young Adult Specialist, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

FARAWAY FOX by Jolene Thompson.  Illus. by Justin Thompson. Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 32p. ISBN: 978-0544707115 hc. $17.99   Gr. K-3   E PIC

A young fox tells his story of confusion and separation from his family in a landscape that has changed greatly from his days as a kit.  He speaks of happy memories when the land was wild, playing with his sister, swimming with his brother, and learning to hunt with his mother.  The images on the page depict a very different environment in comparison to his memories.  We see the human encroachment,and the loneliness of the fox is palpable as he wonders where his family members are.  He finally stumbles upon human beings constructing a highway wildlife underpass, which allows him to find his way to the woods and reunites with his family.  This is an important message that shows how intrusive human beings can be for wildlife, yet offers the  positive picture that there are people working to improve conditions and safety for these animals.  The illustrations are beautiful and heartbreaking as the reader roots for the little fox to find his way home.
Emily Cummings, Children's Specialist, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

ENORMOUS SMALLNESS: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess. Illus. by Kris Di Giacomo, Enchanted Lion Books, 2015. 32p. ISBN 978-1592701711 hc, $17.95   Gr. 2-5   JUV NF

Feast your eyes on this picture book biography of a most unusual poet who wrote his thoughts on paper without the constraints of capital letters or punctuation.  He used his words sparingly, but formatted the poems with artistic whimsy, which makes them so much fun to read.  Burgess and the illustrator, Kris Di Giacomo, use textured layers and muted tones of color, along with strategic placement of words in the illustrations, to present the childhood, education, and early adulthood of Edward Estlin Cummings.  His love of nature and playfulness with language are evident in the five original poems imbedded into the text.  This, along with the large illustrations, make it all the better to read aloud to an audience of young poets.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI