Tuesday, May 30, 2017

STACK THE CATS by Susie Ghahremani.  New York: Abrams Appleseed, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-1419723490 hc. $14.99     Gr. K-2    E PIC

This clever counting book uses cute, stylized cats with big eyes to make the point that some items cannot be stacked without consequence.  Readers who use their prior experience with pets, the laws of physics, and mathematic concepts can solve the problem of how to count cats by dividing them into groups to reach the magic number of 10.  Just as real cats would move around the room, the groups in the book move around into new combinations as they are subtracted from 10.  Teachers may want to combine this book with classroom manipulatives for math lessons that will be fun and memorable.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
ONE LAST WORD: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes. New York:  Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2017. 120p.  ISBN 9781619 635548 hc.$18.99   Gr. 6-8   JNF 811.54

This book melds the words of renowned poets, such as Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Bennett, with the original poetry of Nikki Grimes.  One follows the other like stepping stones through the book, reminding me of Natalie Cole recording music with the voice of her father, Nat King Cole, and coming up with lovely new songs.  Grimes employs the "golden shovel" technique for writing poems by choosing a line from a famous poem and using those very words in an original poem.  The new poem uses the same theme, but updates it's timeless emotion.  The book designer has bolded these key words for readers.  To top off this literary experience, readers will find single page, full color paintings by contemporary artists, such as E.B. Lewis and Brian Pinkney.   Grimes separates the book into three parts and includes a Resource section of poet and artist biographies at the end.  She also prefaces the poetry with history on the Harlem Renaissance to lay the way for a well-constructed afternoon of poetry.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO by Kristin Bartley Lenz.  Ashford, CT:  Elephant Rock Books, 2016.  308p.  ISBN 978-09968649-16 pbk. $12.95    Gr.9-12    YA FIC

Cara's at the top of her game - a champion rock climber competing in events around the world with her parents, who are also climbers.  While competing in Ecuador, her parents and Uncle Max are caught in an avalanche, resulting in Uncle Max's disappearance and assumed death.  Cara's parents are grief-stricken and send her to live with her grandparents in the suburbs near Detroit.  She doesn't want to stay, as she's also grieving, and would rather have the emotional support of her parents.  Good fortune brings her to the lunch table of Kaitlyn and Nick, rather unusual characters who end up being good friends for Cara.  Her grandfather signs her up for driving lessons and takes her to the local climbing gym to keep her moving forward with life.  There's also a romantic interest named Tom and a series of mysterious notes that keep Cara engaged in the present.  As she finds out more about her grandparents, Cara begins to understand her parents better, and gains patience while she sorts out this new chapter of her life.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WE ARE GROWING! by Laurie Keller. New York: Hyperion Books. Elephant an Piggie series. 2016. 56p.  ISBN 978-1484726358 lib.binding $9.99    PreS-Gr. 1    E Reader
Elephant and Piggie introduce beginning readers to several blades of grass - personified to interact just like a group of friends.  The group notices as each one has a growth spurt, and individually defines each blade by their new characteristics of curliest, tallest, crunchiest, silliest, and dandiest.  A lawn mower soon makes all the grass equal in height and without distinction, until someone reminds the group, "You will grow again!"  Elephant and Piggie decide they are the "read-i-est" and close the story with that clever bit of word play.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SQUASH BOOM BEET: An Alphabet for Healthy, Adventurous Eaters by Lisa Maxbauer Price. Traverse City, MI: Blue Bay Books, 2016.  ISBN 978-0996853002    PreS-Gr.2    E PIC

This beautifully photographed alphabet book sets its sights on vegetables and a few herbs that you can grow in any Michigan garden.  The author traveled to farms around the Traverse City area to photograph some tasty and unusual produce.  There's an eye-catching full page spread for the letter "Ss" featuring squash in the forms of pattypan squash, summer squash, winter squash, and the colorful carnival squash.  Readers will find that the alphabet letters are used liberally to fit a variety of delicious and colorful vegetables. The rhyming text and spectacular produce pictures will make this book fun to read aloud, and may support a unit on plants, foods, or nutrition.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

SKYFISHING by Gideon Sterer. Illus. by Poly Bernatene.  New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017. 32p.  ISBN 9781419719110 hc. $17.95    Gr. K-2   E PIC

When Grandpa moves from his cabin on the lake to a third floor apartment in the city, the old fisherman finds himself with too much time on his hands.  He's been fishing his whole life long and knows everything about the sport.  At the suggestion of his granddaughter, the two began fishing from the balcony and catch all kinds of everyday items.  Capfish, litterfish, and photofish soon replace the common varieties found in the lake.  Their catches become bigger and bigger until they catch a troublefish and decide to put the fishing poles away until summer vacation.  The illustrations are vibrant and pique your imagination, as the streets below are transformed into waterways that turn traffic and city folk into a school of fish.  Great illustrations for big imaginations!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI