Tuesday, January 31, 2017

THE SUMMER NICK TAUGHT HIS CATS TO READ by Curtis Manley.  Illus. by Kate Berube.  New York: Simon & Schuster Books, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-1481-435697 hc. $17.99    PreS - Gr. 2     E PIC

Nick and his cats, with the literary names of Verne and Stevenson, were inseparable over the summer.  They played games together, took naps, and worked on projects.  The one thing they couldn't do together was to read.  Nick liked reading, but the cats preferred other activities; so Nick tried to teach them to read.  He made a breakthrough with Verne, but Stevenson was not cooperative.  With persistence on Nick's part, he finally discovered that Stevenson liked adventure books and going on his own adventures.  Nick's quest to work on reading with his cats reminds readers of the everyday struggles many parents have with their children... and teachers with their students.  Finding just the right book for each student is a challenge and takes considerable effort.  This story is made even better by the watercolor illustrations featuring "Charlie Brown" faces that are always askew, but relay the perfect expression for each situation.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

GHOST by Jason Reynolds.  New York: Athenum Books for Young Readers, 2016.  180p. ISBN 9781-48145015-7 hc. $16.99    Gr. 4-7    JUV FIC

Castle Cranshaw prefers if people call him "Ghost" because he runs so fast, they'll think they saw a ghost.  In addition to running fast, he has a penchant for getting into situations that practically make him a permanent resident of the detention room.  His bravado almost gets him into trouble, once again, when he notices a group of runners on the track and challenges one to a race.  Instead, the coach invites him to join the team .... if he can stay out of trouble.  Readers will be taken on an exciting line-up of events, some serious and some humorous, that eventually have a life changing impact on Ghost, as he gets to know and respect the members of his running team.  Quite a few students will relate to the main character, who doesn't always do the right thing the first time, but learns from his mistakes.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

BLOOM by Doreen Cronin. Illustrated by David Small. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016. 32p.  ISBN 978-1442406209 hc. $17.99   Gr. K-3    E-PIC

Bloom is an extraordinary fairy who is quite happy to help in the gardens, making things grow with her magic. She also turns sand into glass, helping to build the castle on the hill. The only catch is that she leaves a trail of mud wherever she goes, which doesn't gain her any favors from the very clean gentry who live in the glass castle. Tired of the complaints, Bloom leaves for a new home in the forest.  Many years later, the castle begins to deteriorate, leading the king on a quest to find the magical Bloom who can save the castle.  However, he finds a messy fairy who works with mud instead.  Not believing this humble creature has the powers he seeks, he returns to the castle.  The queen tries next, but is also doubtful of the messy fairy's powers.  Finally, the haughty rulers send their servant girl, who not too proud to get her hands dirty.  She learns to make bricks from mud without any magic, and ends up building a new castle by using her new skill.  She also finds that by listening and learning, an ordinary person can do ANYTHNG!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

THE CLASS by Boni Ashburn.  Illus. by Kimberly Gee.  New York: Beach Lane Books, 2016. 32p. ISBN 9781442422483 hc. $17.99.     Gr. K-2    E PIC

Join this class of youngsters as they get out of bed and get ready for school.  They differ in their waking habits, how they get themselves dressed, what they eat for breakfast, how fast they brush their teeth, grab their backpacks, and head for the bus.  In addition to Ashburn's metered, rhyming text, the illustrator adds to the book's appeal with cute kids in getting-ready-for-school mode with a little humor thrown in. Each child in the class will recognize and relate to a part of the morning routine that applies to him or her.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

HENRY & LEO by Pamela Zagarenski.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-054464811-1 hc. $17.99    Pres-Gr.2    E PIC

Who can say what makes a toy special?  Henry received a stuffed lion named Leo on his second birthday, and they've been close companions ever since.  One day, after a walk in the woods, Leo went missing.  The whole family searched inside and out, but Leo was not found.  Zagarenski, who just happens to be a Caldecott Honor artist, creates majestic, textured, full-page illustrations that show the forest animals finding Leo and carrying him home to his front yard.  Henry and his family are overjoyed to reunite Henry and his favorite toy, wondering how they could have missed Leo last night when they searched the very spot where he was found.  There's a little magic and mystery in the pages of this book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI