Tuesday, December 27, 2016

SIX KIDS AND A STUFFED CAT by Gary Paulsen.  New York:  Simon & Schuster, 2016. 144p.  ISBN 9781481452278 hc.$16.99      Gr. 6-8     JUV

What happens when six eighth grade boys take shelter in a school bathroom during an afternoon storm?  These aren't ordinary boys.  They consist of a star athlete, an academic overachiever, a bully, the king of detention, a rocker who plays air guitar like a pro, and the new kid who spent his first day of school sleeping behind the stage in the auditorium.  As they joke around with each other, bring out each other's strengths and weaknesses, they bond together to become a group of friends.  The dialog is witty and fast-paced - which brings readers to the second half of the book which is a repeat of the story written as a play.  Great for reader's theater or an example of script writing.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

LITTLE RED AND THE VERY HUNGRY LION by Alex T. Smith.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2016. 32p.  ISBN: 978-0545915383 hc. $17.99   PreS-Gr. 2    E PIC

This book will remind you of other versions of "Little Red Riding Hood," but has a unique setting and storyline.  The illustrations are bright and so much fun.  If readers take the time to look around the pages, they will spot a goat eating a telephone cord, the store sign advertising "Spot Medicine," tea time for crocodiles, some very happy monkeys, and the hiding lion.  Each page is full of fun things to look at, enhancing the storybook experience for young readers..  Last, but not the least favorite thing about the book, was the way Little Red solved her problem with the lion.  I hope this author takes it upon himself to write more stories based on children's fairy tales.
Mary Koshorek, Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

REAL COWBOYS by Kate Hoefler.  Illustrated by Jonathan Bean.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 32p. ISBN 978-0544148925 hc. $16.99    PreS-Gr. 3    E PIC

What does it take to be a real cowboy?  Kate Hoefler's beautiful and realistic book describes the necessary traits and hard work being a good cowboy requires.  They must be good listeners, patient, ask for help, and be good to the earth.  They think of others, especially their animals, as they sing them to sleep and calm them during storms.  Myths of rowdiness are extinguished, for real cowboys sometimes cry for those they lost or as they remember the ones that died.  They are made up of all races and genders.  The use of bold colors and expressive illustrations are gorgeous and excel in telling the real story of real cowboys indeed.
Emily Cummings, Children's Specialist, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I'M A GIRL! by Yasmeen Ismail. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015. 32p. ISBN: 978-1619639751 hc. $16.99    PreS-Gr.1    E PIC

"Be yourself-there's no better!" proudly exclaims this book about being happy with who you are.  The little girl donkey repeatedly asserts that she is a girl as various animals assume she is male based upon her activities and interests.  She is messy, loud, goes fast, is brave, and plays the drums as the animals refer to her as "him," "boy," "sonny," or "young man" requiring her to let them know she is "a girl!"  Towards the end of the book, she meets a little lion declaring that he is "a boy!"  The two become friends and celebrate that there's no one else they'd rather be than themselves.  This book works hard to establish that it is not the activities or ideas that ascribe gender and that gender stereotypes should be broken.  The illustrations are colorful and done in beautiful watercolor brush strokes, which help to enhance the activity and message within the book.
Emily Cummings, Children's Specialist, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI