Tuesday, July 25, 2017

PUSH! DIG! SCOOP!: A Construction Counting Rhyme by Rhonda Gowler Greene. Illus. by Daniel Kirk. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016. 32p. ISBN 978-080273506-5 hc. $16.99   E PIC   PreS-K

In the tradition of  "Over in the Meadow," Greene adapts this counting rhyme to machinery on a construction site.  From one bulldozer to ten steamrollers, readers follow the digging, dumping, lifting, and general construction of a school building, complete with paved parking lot.  Greene animates the machinery with descriptive text, while Kirk adds graphic illustrations to give each machine its own personality.  Over the years, many authors have devised creative ways to use the rhythm and rhyme of "Over in the Meadow," including another Michigan author, Boni Ashburn, who wrote "Over at the Castle" featuring medieval characters and a dragon. Read them both and any other adaptations you can find.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WHAT IS CHASING DUCK? by Jan Thomas.  ISBN 978-0-54493907-3  hc. $9.99
THERE'S A PEST IN THE GARDEN! by Jan Thomas. ISBN 978-054494165-6 hc. $9.99
New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2017.  48p.  E READER   Gr. K-2

Illustrator, Jan Thomas, has launched a new series of easy readers featuring four friendly farm animals:  Dog, Donkey, Sheep, and Duck.  The four friends join in each other's adventures as they exaggerate the urgency of everyday situations, always supporting each member of their group.  Both of these books have surprise endings.  The vocabulary is simple, but refreshingly grammatical.  The conversation is captured in speech bubbles, paired with bright, expressive illustrations.  These stories remind me of the "Click, Clack, Moo" books by Doreen Cronin mixed in with "Scaredy Squirrel" books by Melanie Watt.  The next two titles, "My Friends Make Me Happy!" and "My Toothbrush Is Missing" will be available soon.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

UNDEFEATED: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin.  New York:  Roaring Book Press, 2017.

Jim Thorpe's story actually begins with his introduction to head coach, Pop Warner, at a football tryout at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.  Backgrounds on both men reveal their shared drive to be the best and their love of football.  Thorpe, along with many other Native Americans, was sent to the Carlisle school to adapt to the food, language, clothing and work habits of white people.  Warner, hailing from a ranching family, studied law at Cornell University and played varsity football there before coaching at Carlisle.  Once the two men were on the same team as player and coach, the Carlisle Indian School football team became victorious and famous, despite blatant discrimination against Native Americans.  Jim was a super athlete, participating in other sports and the 1912 Olympics.  His name is recognized to this very day.  One hundred years after his coaching career, "Pop Warner" football leagues are found around the country for children who want to learn the sport.  The book has 280 pages of solid information, 45 of which are Source Notes, Works Cited, and an Index.  Sheinkin documents this very readable story with a generous number of photographs in each chapter, living up to his reputation as National Book Award Finalist.
 Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

CITY OF SAINTS & THIEVES by Natalie C. Anderson.  New York:  G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2017  401p.  ISBN: 978-039954758-4 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Rolling several stories in one, Anderson takes readers on an underworld adventure in Sangui, Kenya, where a gang of thieves, called Goondas, live in a society of secrets and criminal activity.  Tina has been part of the Goondas for the past five years, ever since her mother was murdered in the house where she worked as a maid.  Known as "Tiny Girl" to her associates, she excels as a thief and keeps her personal life to herself - to protect her younger sister, Kiki, who lives as a convent school nearby.  The suspense begins when Tina is caught stealing from the family her mother used to work for - in the very room where her mother was murdered.  To further complicate things, her captor is Michael Greyhill, the family heir and her childhood friend, who has grown into a very handsome young man.  He's not falling for her scams, but can be convinced to help Tina solve the mystery of her mother's death.  The pair find out more than they want to know, as readers turn page after page to keep up with them.  There's a guide to Swahili vocabulary in the back, so you won't miss a beat!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI