Tuesday, December 26, 2017

BIG CAT, LITTLE CAT by Elisha Cooper. New York:  Roaring Book Press, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 9781-62672371-9 hc. $16.99.   PreS - Gr. 2    E PIC

A big white cat was a happy to be the only housepet, until the day a little black cat arrived.  The big cat showed the little cat how to do activities around the house and, as the little cat grew, they became best friends.  As the years went by, the old white cat passed away.  Cooper gently phrases the passing of the white cat, the loneliness of the black cat, and the introduction of a new pet into the home.  The simplicity of this book is deceptive.  Well chosen words combined with black & white drawings pave the way for a story rich in emotion and a pattern of events that can apply to more than just cats.  The life cycle has never been told with such clarity and compassion.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

ORPHAN ISLAND by Laurel Snyder.  New York: Walden Pond Press, 2017.  269p.  ISBN 978-006244341-0 hc. $16.99.    Gr. 5-8    J FIC

The weather is always perfect on Orphan Island.  There's always food for all nine of them, and everyone helps with the chores.  It's a microcosm of content.  But when Jinny's friend, Deen, leaves the island in the green boat that arrives once a year to collect the oldest child on the island, she's not ready to give him up and become the elder.  The boat also brings a youngster to replace the oldest, who becomes the "care" of the elder.  Ess arrived this year, and it is Jinny's job to teach her how the island works.  She also has a mystery to solve about the first person on the island who left notes in the books that are read by the campfire each night.  When the boat arrives for Jinny a year later, she's not ready to leave Ess or face the uncertainty of where the boat will take her.  However, there's a price to pay when the rules are broken.  Even though the story is filled with symbolism about how it feels to leave childhood behind, there could have bene more about "Abbie," the first girl on the island, or a continuation of Jinny's entry into adolescence (in my opinion.)  This book begs for a sequel
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY by Sara O'Leary.  Illus. by Qin Leng.  Toronto, Canada: Groundhog Books, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-155498794-8 hc. $17.95     Gr. K-2   E PIC

When one classroom was asked to tell about their own families, the results varied from families with lots of children to one child with step-parents, single parents and lots of grandparents.  Some families had two moms or dads, while others had two parents living in separate homes.  Some families included disabled parents, grandparents, foster children, and cousins.  All were different, but "a family is a family...is a family."  O'Leary's accepting tone makes everyone comfortable with differences in family structure, which is a joy to read.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

PENGUIN'S CHRISTMAS WISH by Salina Yoon. Bloomsbury, NY: Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2016.
ISBN: 9781681191553 hc. $14.99      PreS-Gr.2     E PIC
Sometimes, a simple wish to share time with friends is the best Christmas present one can receive.
Penguin is back for another adventure in the North Pole. His friend, Pumpkin, is sad because pine trees
cannot grow there, and he is hoping for a Christmas tree. Penguin has an idea; he 
gathers decorations and
friends as he leads them to a forest. A windstorm threatens to blow away 
the spirit of Christmas, but the
magic of the season has a surprise in store for Penguin. The 
story is told in simple third person with large,
easy to read text. The bright, bold, colorful 
illustrations pop with appeal, especially the unique aerial views.
The Christmas spirit is alive 
and well without any hint of commercialization or complication in the plot.
Emily Cummings, Children's Specialist, Dickinson County Library

Friday, December 1, 2017

YOU CAN FLY:  The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Jeffery Weatherford.  New York: Athenum Books for Young Readers, 2017. 96p. ISBN 978-1481449380 hc. $16.99    Gr. 4-8     JNF (811.6)
Told from the perspective of a young black recruit who took part in a pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute at the beginning of World War II, these historical poems imply much more than they say about inequality between blacks and whites.  Weatherford chooses her words well.  “Some days, you look heavenwards, sensing that it might be easier to defy gravity than Jim Crow,” referring to Jim Crow laws that denied blacks the same freedoms enjoyed by whites.  In addition to poems about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and descriptions of dogfights with Nazi pilots, several poems chronicle efforts by singer, Lena Horne, boxer Joe Louis, and attorney William Henry Hastie to further the rights of blacks through their celebrity status.  A timeline at the back of the book follows the progression of equal rights from the Civil War to 2007, when the Tuskegee Airmen finally received their long overdue Congressional Medals of Honor at the White House.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI