Tuesday, August 29, 2017

WARCROSS by Marie Lu. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2017.  368p. ISBN: 978-0399547966 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

In a futuristic New York City, 18 year-old Emika Chen lives on Ramen noodles and her passion for Warcross, a video game that builds virtual worlds by accessing player memories, along with it's 21 year-old creator, Hideo Tanaka.  Emika is a bounty hunter who doesn't earn enough money to keep a paid-up gaming account, but she possesses extraordinary gaming skills enabling her to hack into the Warcross worldwide tournament.  As she hacks into the game, a computer glitch reveals Emika's identity to the world.  Luckily, Hideo Tanaka offers her a job instead of charging her with a crime.   He gives her an undercover position on one of the Warcross tournament teams to find a dangerous hacker called Zero.  Emika is immersed in the action-packed virtual world of Warcross, while getting to know the other players on her team and forming a romantic connection to Hideo.  Marie Lu keeps YA readers engaged with action, romance, and moral dilemmas up to the very last page.  And...good news...there's plenty of room in this complex story for a sequel.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

AND THE ROBOT WENT... by Michelle Robinson. Illus. by Sergio Ruzzier.  New York:  Clarion Books, 2017.  ISBN 978-054458652-9 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-1     E PIC

Robinson combines a cumulative story with catchy rhymes to create an adventure for young readers.  It begins with "A Nosy Fox looked in the box," and continues on with an Eager Beaver, a Bear in a Blazer, and a Blue Gnu who all interact with the contents of the box - a robot.  Various mechanical noises emit from the robot after each character tries to fix it, until the persistent group produces a restored, fully functional robot.  Educators may want to use these unusual rhymes and varied verbs as examples for writing workshop.  Sergio Ruzzier consistently illustrates the series of characters in order to help with storyline, and adds fun details, such as fuzzy green slippers juxtaposed to the metal surface of the robot.  This structured story has a surprise ending you won't want to miss!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

THE ENEMY by Sara Holbrook.  Honesdale, PA:  Calkins Creek Books, 2017.  255p.  ISBN 978-1629794983 hc. $17.95    Gr. 5-8    JUV FIC

The cold war between the U.S. and Russia was at its peak in 1954, as evidenced by air raid drills at school, war veterans in almost every family, German families suspected of having ties with Nazis, and a constant fear of Communist spies.  This was Marjorie Campbell's world when a new student, named Inga, showed up in her sixth grade classroom one day.  All the girls, especially the very popular Bernadette, voiced their suspicions about Inga.  If she moved to the U.S. from Canada, why did she speak German instead of English?  Marjorie's natural curiosity about Inga, along with her parents' support of Inga's family, help her stand up to Bernadette and demand fair treatment for all the girls in class, regardless of ethnicity or religion.  There are a lot of moving parts in this story, including a slam book, foster care, the post-war auto industry in Detroit, and post traumatic stress disorder - which was undiagnosed in soldiers at the time.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

SEVEN RULES YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT BREAK IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE THE CAFETERIA by John Grandits.  Ilus. by Michael allen Austin.  New York:  Clarion Books, 2017.  32p.  ISBN: 978-05446951-9 hc, $16.99     Gr. K-3      E PIC

On the very first day that Kyle decided to buy his lunch from the cafeteria, he was trapped on the bus listening to his friend Ginny's seven rules of eating in the cafeteria.  He didn't like to break rules, so he listened carefully.  Then, during lunch, he broke every rule.  He held up the line, took too many food items, didn't know how to pay, dropped his tray, couldn't find where his friends were sitting, and got in trouble with the lunch lady.  After that, Kyle decided not to listen to Ginny and made his own rules about how to "survive the cafeteria."  Not only is this sequential story an adventure,  it's illustrations feature very expressive faces and body language on the characters. Austin also adds a new element to the story by turning  Kyle into a kid who loves insects and can always be found with his bug book.  Ginny is drawn as a cricket because of her constant chattering on the bus, classmates become ants in line marching to the cafeteria, and Kyle turns into a snail while holding up the cafeteria line.  Very creative!  Read this book to school age children for the smooth storytelling and great illustrations.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

BILLY BLOO IS STUCK IN GOO by Jennifer Hamburg.  Illus. by Ross Burach.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2017. 32p. ISBN 978-054588015-2 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Science kids will love the big blob of green goo that Billy is stuck in.  It makes a presence on every other page as rescuers of every ability try to free Billy from the sticky mess.  A cowgirl gets stuck, along with an acrobatic troupe, a pirate, a magician, and more.  This cumulative story summarizes everyone who's stuck after each failed attempt at rescue.  Hamburg creates perfectly metered rhyming text that is predictable enough for youngsters to fully participate in the story.  Combined with Burach's lively cartoon illustrations and realistic green goo, the pages will come to life for young readers.  Enjoy the fun!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI