Tuesday, December 25, 2018

THE NIGHT BOX by Louise Greig. Illus. by Ashling Lindsay. New York: Clarion Books, 2018. 32p. ISBN 978-132885093-5 hc. $17.99     PreS-Gr.1     E PIC

The golden glow and deep shadows from the setting sun turn to orange as Max is called into the house for the night.  It's getting dark, but Max completes the process by opening the Night Box to let darkness out and the light in before locking it up again and going to bed.  The illustrations become even more breathtaking (if that's possible) as stars come out and animals from the woods nearby carry on their nocturnal activities.  When morning comes, Max's Night Box lets the light out and stores darkness for another day.  This simplistic explanation for day and night may be perfect for youngsters who like to imagine control over the routines in their lives.  Others will want to know about the sun in relation to the earth's daily rotation.  It's a gentle story that could lead to educational discussion.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

I GOT THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Connie Schofield-Morrison.  Illus. by Frank Morrison.  New York:  Bloomsbury, 2018.  32p. ISBN 978-168119-528-5 hc. $16.99    PreS-Gr.2    E PIC

Connie and Frank Morrison, who wrote I GOT THE RHYTHM in 2014, have teamed up once again to ring in the Christmas season with the sights and sounds of a walk downtown to shop.  The young protagonist with pom-pom pigtails is the same and the journey similar, as she and her mom contribute to the Salvation Army bucket and sing with carolers nearby.  They take a spin around the ice rink and window shop before visiting Santa and buying the perfect gift.  As in the first book, the illustrations are large and lifelike, while the text is short and rhythmic.  Both books are great for reading aloud to one child or a group.  Enjoy!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

THE SLOTH WHO SLOWED US DOWN by Margaret Wild.  Illus. by
Vivienne To. New York: Abrams, 2018  32p. ISBN 978-141973195-2 hc.
$16.99   Gr. K-3   E PIC

Amy's family rushed through life, cramming as many activities as possible
into each day.  Things began to change when she brought a sloth home
from the park.  Amy's parents encouraged the sloth to move a little faster,
but he took lots of time to clean up before dinner, even longer to eat, and
continued his slow pace while helping with the dishes.  Amy, being a
considerate person, immediately slowed down her level of activity to
accomodate the sloth, and soon her parents did too.  They seemed to enjoy
spending time together and decided to make some changes in their daily
schedule to slow down, following the example of sloth.  The illustrations
are vivid, expressing the slowness of the sloth against the flurry of activity
produced by Amy and her family.  The last page humorously portrays
sloth, who has moved next door to where he's needed most - with the new
"speediest family in the world."
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

THIRTY MINUTES OVER OREGON: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story by Marc Tyler Nobleman.  Illus. by Melissa Iwai.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2018. 42p.  ISBN 978-0544430761 hc. $17.99    Gr.2-5   J940.54
After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, drawing the United States into World War II, the U.S. retaliated by bombing Tokyo, Japan’s largest city.  That led to another attack on the U.S. - this time a mission to start fires with bombs near the town of Brookings, Oregon.  This true story focuses on Nobuo Fujita, the pilot of that plane who catapulted his plane from a Japanese submarine and flew to the Oregon coast.  Although Fujita completed his bombing mission, only one bomb detonated and didn't burn very long in the wet forest.  The war ended in 1945, and Nobuo Fujita became a regular civilian, although he harbored some guilt about his part in wartime destruction.  The town of Brookings, however, invited him to a Memorial Day Festival to put old World War II resentment to rest.  He accepted the invitation, and began a 35 year journey of forgiveness and acceptance between the people of his home in Japan and his new friends in Oregon.  Over time, he donated money to the Brookings library for "children's books that celebrate other cultures" with the hope that understanding other people would prevent future conflict between cultures. Nobuo Fujita died in 1997 at the age of 85.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

BOB by Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead.  Illus. by Nicholas Gannon.  New York:  Feiwel and Friends Books, 2018.  ISBN 978-125016662-3 hb. $16.99   Gr. 4-5   JUV

It's been five years - half of her life - since Livy visited Gran in Australia.  She doesn't remember much about the things she enjoyed last time she was here, but when she opens her closet, someone remembers her.  There's a short green creature, dressed in burlap, talking to her about a promise she made to help him find his way home.  As Livy re-learns about her friend, Bob, she also learns about friendship and keeping promises.  Bob is very literal, which leads to some humorous situations, but he is also connected to nature and the five-year drought in the area.  Everything comes around in the end, and it's a pleasure reading the well-constructed story to get there.  The quiet sepia-colored illustrations are few in number, but check out the book cover which reveals a small triangle of color.  Beautiful.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

VERNON IS ON HIS WAY: Small Stories by Philip C. Stead.  New York: Roaring Book Press, 2018. 64p.  ISBN 978-1626726550 hc. $19.99    Gr. K-3    E PIC

Stead offers three related stories about Vernon, who is an introspective character, and his very kind friends, Skunk and Porcupine.  "Waiting" is almost wordless, but Stead's simple, translucent illustrations get the point of the story across to readers. Readers won't be able to hold back a smile at the end of each small story. "Fishing" takes a look at the adventure of fishing in a whole new way, again retaining the subtle humor of the story.  "Gardening" is all about friendship and the activities friends will go through to make someone happy.  Vernon's very slow, thoughtful way of interacting with the world will have a calming effect on his audience.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

ZOLA'S ELEPHANT by Randall deSeve.  Illus. by Pamela Zagarenski. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2018. ISBN 978-132888629-3 hc. $17.99.   Gr. K-2   E PIC

"There's a new girl next door."  The narrator knows her name is Zola and that a very large box was moved into her house - probably containing an elephant.  Zola is likely to be feeding her elephant because the smell of toast is coming from her house.  There's also the sounds of running water and hammering - which could mean that Zola and her elephant are taking a bubble bath or building a clubhouse.  All these imaginings make the narrator feel left out of the fun, until gathering the courage to knock on Zola's door and become her new friend.  Readers will enjoy trying to guess what's in the box - probably NOT an elephant.  Zagarenski's illustrations are unmatched in their depth of emotion, whimsical quality, and colorful expression.  Her art won Caldecott Honors for SLEEP LIKE A TIGER by Mary Logue (2012) and RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman (2009).
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

IZZY GIZMO by Pip Jones.  Illus. by Sara Ogilvie.  Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-16826302 hc. $16.95    Gr. K-3    E PIC

Izzy is a young inventor who carries her tool box everywhere in order to enhance everyday experiences, such as cooking and cleaning.  Her Grandpa tolerates her devices, even the ones that don't work.  Izzy has a tendency to be angry when machines don't work.  One day she was walking off her frsutrations, when an injured bird fell to the ground.  Izzy took the bird to the vet and then began inventing things to make his rehabilitation easier.  She tried to make new wings, but failed again and again.  With encouragement from Grandpa, Izzy found parts from various sources and finally succeeded in making wings that worked.  Grandpa's guiding hand saves the day with a funny, surprise ending.  If this story isn't cute enough, the oil pastel illustrations put the book over the top with added details of Izzy's extravagant inventions.  Readers are drawn to the side stories on each page which lead to extended discussion of physical science, nontraditional families, and community.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

APPLE IN THE MIDDLE by Dawn Quigley.  Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University Press, 2018. 264p.  ISBN 978-194616307-3 hb. $25.95   Gr. 6-8   JUV

Apple Starkington, the cultural product of a Minneapolis suburb, has always felt like she didn't quite belong.  She speaks with an Australian accent when under pressure, is kind of sensitive about her tan skin, and doesn't like her name ever since someone told her that an apple is Native American on the outside, but white on the inside.  She comes from a white dad and an Ojibwe mom, but has always lived with her dad because Apple's mom died giving birth to her.  This summer she's being re-acquainted with her grandparents on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota.  The grandparents give her space to adjust to a very practical way of life, a subtle sense of humor, a community of extended family that makes sure everyone is cared for, unconditional love, and an acceptance of people and nature that she has never experienced before.  Finding the other half of her heritage is just what Apple needed to accept herself and give her the confidence to choose a path in the world.  Since Michigan and Wisconsin are also home to Ojibwe tribes, Apple opens up their world to all of us.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

THE KING OF BEES by Lester Laminack.  Illus. by Jim LaMarche.  Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers, 2018. 32p. ISBN 978-1561459537 hc. $17.99    Gr. K-3    E PIC

Flip through the pages and "read" the watercolor and ink illustrations to enjoy some visual storytelling before you read the text.  LaMarche and Laminack make a great storytelling team for this timely story about Henry and Aunt Lilla, who raise bees on their farm.  Henry's too young to wear the bee suit and tend the bee hive, so he asks lots of questions from a safe distance where he can see everything.  Aunt Lilla tells him that instead of talking, bees communicate with a series of movements called a dance.  When Henry sees the bees swarming, he worries they may leave the farm instead of forming a hive in the new box Aunt Lilla made - and takes action with a dance of his own.  After reading this sweet story about how important bees are to humans, readers may want to pursue the topic further.  The publisher has provided resources at http://peachtree-online.com/resources/the-king-of-bees.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

THE THANK YOU BOOK by Mary Lyn Ray.  Illus. by Stephanie Graegin.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., 2018. 32p.  ISBN 978-0544791367 hc. $13.99   PreS - Gr. 1   E PIC

Kindness is the theme of this book, demonstrated as the author takes us through a child's day from waking up in the morning until going to bed at night.  At the same time, she integrates the seasons into daily activities, beginning with summer and continuing through fall, winter and spring - two timelines - seamlessly working together in the same story.  Readers are reminded to appreciate things as large as sunlight and stars, along with things as small as "zippers that zip jackets when warm days turn to cold."  The illustrations complete a sentence or concept on each two-page spread, making the story perfect for reading aloud to youngsters.  Check out some older books by Mary Lyn Ray that are equally good to read:  PUMPKINS (1992), MUD (1996), ALL ABOARD! (2002), STARS (2011), A VIOLIN FOR ELVA (2015).  Go to her website www.marylynray.com for a complete listing of her picture books.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

THE MISSING DONUT by Judith Henderson. Illus. by Trenton; McBeth.  
Canada: Kids Can Press Ltd., 2018. 52p. ISBN: 978-1771387880 hc. 
$12.99  Gr. K-3   E PIC

Not quite a graphic novel, but also not quite a "normal" picture 
book, this story keeps readers' eyes bouncing from picture to 
picture and word to word. Judith Henderson teaches her readers 
great big new words in clever, creative ways. By the end, all 
the big words are employed in a few zany sentences, testing if 
the reader was paying attention or not, and concluding the story 
with this great word recap.  Sectioned into several small stories, 
this book follows the adventures of Cris and his cat as they 
acquire new words, solve mysteries, visit museums and shoe stores, 
and generally, just have some wacky learning adventures. 
Abbey, Children's Librarian, Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

by Jane Yolen.  Illus. by Susan Guevara.  New York:  Houghton 
Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2018. 134p. ISBN 978-1328900203 
hc. $15.99   K-3    JNF   398.2208   

Readers will be hooked from the opening letter. "I never had this 
book when I was growing up [...] I was always King Arthur or 
Merlin or sometimes Lancelot because I'd never heard of Bradamante, 
and Guinevere was no fun at all-just kissing and sneaking around."  
Full of fantastic, and better yet, female, heroes, this book 
collects a wide variety of stories about women in folklore and 
mythology. Not that readers should butt men out of the picture 
entirely, because well-balanced stories are just that - well
balanced - but every once in awhile, girls need a good hero story 
where they do their own saving. 
Abbey, Children's Librarian, Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS by Tae Keller.  New York:  Random House Books, 2018. 304p.  ISBN 978-1524715663    Gr. 3-6    JUV

Natalie has enough to worry about at home with her botanist mother shutting herself in her room, her father telling her to "give her mother some space," and feeling like she's on her own.  Luckily, she has her best friend Twig around to liven things up and make school bearable.  Her science teacher, Mr. Neely, is the most cheerful man alive and gets on Natalie's nerves sometimes, like his latest suggestion to add Dari (one of the smartest kids in the room) to her and Twig's lab group.  But he also scores points with her by telling the group about an egg drop competition they could enter for prize money.  Natalie could use that money to get her mom interested in plants again and act like a mom again.  In spite of their best efforts, the lab group loses the competition and comes up with a risky scheme to steal a rare orchid seed from a research lab.  Things get really out of control before they get better.  This is one of the few books for children that talks about parents with depression and gives a point of view from the child. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

AMERICAN PANDA by Gloria Chao. New York: Simon Pulse, 2018. 320p.  ISBN 978-1481499101 hc. $16.99     Gr. 8-12    YA FIC

As she begins classes at MIT to become a doctor, Mei Lu realizes that she's not able to fulfill her Taiwanese parents' dream of a prestige medical career.  She's a germaphobe.  Her parents also want her to date someone rich and Taiwanese, get married, and have children.  Mei Lu is a dancer at heart with her own dreams to open a dance studio.  In the midst of this juggling act, Mei Lu meets an attractive, intriguing, Japanese student who seems to like her too.  How can she tell her parents that she needs an alternative plan, when they've already cut her older brother, Xing, out of their lives for becoming engaged to an American?  How can she re-connect with Xing, keep a relationship with her parents, and make a life of her own choosing?  The title, AMERICAN PANDA is a subtle way to tell readers that  American and Taiwanese cultures aren't easy to separate as black and white.  Mei Lu's life has a lot of blurry lines.  As an aside, pandas are native to Taiwan.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

KNOCK KNOCK by Tammi Sauer. Illus. by Guy Francis. New York:  Scholastic Press, 2018. ISBN 978-133811694-6 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Bear is awakened by a "Knock Knock" on his door.  He replies, "Who's there?" only to find himself the recipient of a clever knock-knock joke.  The first joke is followed by five more until everyone has arrived at bear's house with a party sending him off for winter hibernation.  Bear's annoyance wears off as his friends tuck him into bed and read him a bedtime story.  Three months later, he's awake and ready to remind everyone "It's spring!"  Large illustrations in bright colors, along with very large and limited text, make this story perfect for read-alouds.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

SCIENCE COMICS:  ROCKETS DEFYING GRAVITY by Anne Drozd & Jerzy Drozd.  New York:  First Second Books, 2018.  ISBN 978-162672-8257 pbk.$12.99    Gr. 3-5   JUV GRAPHIC

Enjoy reading while learning the history of science.  Lewis is the first cartoon animal to introduce readers to the ancient scientists who worked with rockets.  He is soon joined by a cartoon menagerie who talk with Sir Isaac Newton about gravity, and quickly move on to other experts on physics and propulsion.  The authors show readers how rockets are used for entertainment (such as fireworks), in warfare, and for space exploration.  Along with the history of the rocket and its inventors, there's a timeline and glossary in the back of the book to tie the information to classroom curriculum.  This book is part of a series by various authors that cover the science of volcanoes, dinosaurs, bats, coral reefs, dogs, robots and drones....and more still to be published.  You won't run out of topics!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

RHYTHM OF THE REEF adapted by Lisa Charlesworth. Boston, MA:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.  ISBN 978-132885278-6 pbk. $4.99   Ages 3-5   E PIC

Jim Henson's Splash and Bubbles series is based on a television series created by John Tartaglia.  This book and SHARK SURPRISE are stories about the adventures of a group of fish friends.  Both books include "Fin Facts" about the guest characters - a shark and an octopus - adding a bit of science to the reading experience.  These books also feature stickers on the last page and a foldout ocean scene for readers to create their own story.

MY COLORFUL REEF and SO MANY SEA CREATURES! are board books with the same characters and a gimmick of their own.  Crinkly cloth fish tails are incorporated into the book binding to appeal to toddlers, along with short stories that highlight colors and numbers.

DIVE IN, LEND A FIN! completes the series with another board book that talks about ocean conservation, at a very basic level.  Half of the pages have plastic panels that layer together to make the illustrations into an adventure of discovery.  Adults and children will both love these books that add activity to the reading environment.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

THE LONG ISLAND by Drew Beckmeyer.  San Francisco, CA:  Chronicle Books.  56p.  ISBN 978-145215485-5 hc. $17.99     Gr. 1-4    E PIC

When was the last time you read a picture book illustrated in  crayon?  People are depicted as silhouettes.  No faces.  No hair.  No clothes.  The pictures are bold, but simple, effectively telling the story in combination with the sparse, but grammatically correct, text.  The book's formatting is beautiful and unique.  Beckmeyer creates a story of exploration and adventure.  The inhabitants of a small island find a way to explore the hard-to-reach wilderness on other side.  They make it more accessible and then people come to settle the region.  However, an explorer can't stop seeking the unknown.  Near the end of the story, a single explorer uses a motor boat to do what a whole boat of paddlers did at the beginning of the story.  This story rings true when you look back at centuries of land exploration which led to space exploration, and ocean exploration, as technology improved.  There's a lot to talk about after reading this book!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

AMAL UNBOUND by Aisha Saeed.  New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018.  240p.  ISBN 978-0399544682 hc. $ 17.99      Gr. 4-7     JUV

Although she lived in Pakistan, Amal led a normal life with the same dreams of children in all cultures.  She loved learning, reading books, talking with her friends and family, and she had hopes of becoming a teacher when she grew up.  Her life began to unravel when her mother had her fifth child and couldn't seem to return to her daily routine.  The chores and childcare fell to Amal as eldest child, causing her to drop out of school.  A fateful outing to the marketplace led to an unpleasant accident with the village's tyrannical landlord, Jawad Sahib, and resulted in Amal being sent to his house to live as a servant until her father's debt was paid off.  She soon discovered that the Khan family charged room and board to their servants and the debts were never paid off.  Amal would be a servant in the Khan household forever.  However, an overheard conversation and the courage to report it to outside authorities changed Amal's fortune once again and restored her faith in the justice system.  The story is inspired by the true story of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot while attending school in her Pakistan village, and now travels the world speaking out against violence while advocating for the  education of girls, as well as boys.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

ALFIE by Thyra Heder.  New York:  Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017.  40p. ISBN 978-141972529-6 hc. $17.95    Gr. K-3     E PIC

Alfie, the turtle, left the pet store to live with Nia on her sixth birthday.  They were both six years old.  Nia fed Alfie, played with him, and told him stories every day, until her seventh birthday when he disappeared from his aquarium.  An artistic transition page leads readers to Alfie's side of the story.  Because he loved spending time with Nia, he wanted to get her an amazing present for their seventh birthday.  He left the aquarium, traveled through the house, and ventured out into town, only to return to the backyard pond for a well-deserved hibernation in the mud.  When he woke up in the spring, as turtles do, he was welcomed to Nia's birthday celebration - a year late.  The ink and watercolor illustrations are a visual treat and truly add to the story - especially the surprise ending.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

FAIRY SPELL: How Two Girls Convinced the World That Fairies Are Real by Marc Tyler Nobleman. Illus. by Eliza Wheeler.  New York:  Clarion Books, 2018. 40p.  ISBN 978-0-54469948-9 hc. $17.99      Gr. 2-5     JUV NF 999.999

Cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths found themselves living in Cottingsley, England during the summer of 1917, while Frances' father was serving in World War I.  While spending many hours near a stream at the edge of the garden, they became obsessed with the idea of woodland fairies living there.  Elsie, who was sixteen, borrowed her father's camera and took several photos of Frances and herself with the fairies, as proof that they were real.  A newsman heard of the photos and started to investigate their authenticity.  The mystery persisted in the media for several more years and then died down in 1921.  In 1965, a journalist contacted Elsie and started the search for fairies all over again.  It took until 1981 for Elsie and Frances, now very old ladies, to admit they had faked the photos with paper cutouts of fairies pinned upright in the grass.  It's considered to be one of the greatest pranks of the century.  It seems that the Cottingsley fiaries are experiencing another revival, as F.R. Maher published THE SECRET OF THE COTTINGLEY FAIRIES: HIDDEN FOR 100 YEARS in 2017 and Ana Sender's THE COTTONGSLEY FAIRIES, which will be published early in 2019.  It's a fascinating story - even after a hundred years.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO and BECAUSE I WAS A GIRL are nonfiction YA books about empowering women. One is a memoir and the other is a collection of short personal stories with the same theme.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope by Chessy Prout with Jenn Abelson. New York: Simon & Schuster (2018) 416p. ISBN 9781534414433 hc. $18.99 Gr. 9-12 (362.883 PR YA)

15 year-old Chessy Prout tells about her experience as a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a senior student at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire in 2014. She describes the assault , as well as the aftermath of shame, self-doubt, and being shunned by fellow students after reporting the incident. With the support of her family, she testified against her attacker in court in order to encourage other victims to speak out and to reveal the attitudes in our institutions that intimidate victims into silence. Readers will be inspired by Prout’s memoir of courage against a system that bullies rape victims.

BECAUSE I WAS A GIRL: True Stories for Girls of All Ages edited by Melissa de La Cruz. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2017. 245p. ISBN 978125015446-0 hc. $18.99   Gr. 7-11  (305.4 BE YA)

Divided into decade-long time periods from 1920 to present day, notable women write about their journeys from childhood to productive adults.  These inspiring women made a difference in the world despite opportunities that favored men and attitudes of low expectation for females.  They kept their dreams in front of them and became respected for their talents.  Readers may recognize some of the names such as, Melissa de la Cruz, bestselling author; Delores Huerta, civil rights and labor leader; Zoey Luna, activist for transgender youth; and Gloria Molina, Hispanic politician.  The diversity and scope of the stories is impressive.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

POSTED by John David Anderson.  New York:  Walden Pond Press, 2017.  384p. ISBN 9780062338204 hc. $16.99.    Gr. 6-8      JUV FIC

Unpleasant remarks on a student's social media account causes cell phones at Branton Middle School to be banned.  The need to communicate is strong in this population, so they begin using the post-it notes they were required to buy at the beginning of each school year.  Frost, nicknamed after the poet Robert Frost after winning a fifth-grade writing contest, and his three middle school buddies make the perfect group.  Bench, DeeDee and Wolf all have nicknames derived from their talents and they depend on each other to get through school each day.  Most importantly, they eat lunch together at their own table - made for four people.  Life is good - until a brash new student, Rose, shows up at their lunch table.  As Rose quickly inserts herself into the group's after school activities,  she is accepted by some of the group, but not all.  At the same time, the post-it notes are beginning to voice negative and bullying messages.  Will this group of friends survive the peer pressure?  Readers will root for these approachable characters and their stories.
Lynette Suckow, Superorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

THERE'S A TIGER IN THE GARDEN by Lizzy Stewart.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. 32p.  ISBN 978-132879183-2 hc. $17.99   PreS - Gr.2   E PIC

What happens when Nora tells her Grandmother that she and her stuffed giraffe, Jeff, are bored with indoor activities?  You guessed right - it's time to play outside in the garden where her grandmother swears she saw a tiger that morning.  Highly doubtful about the existence of a tiger, Nora follows a dragonfly down a path where she meets man-eating plants, a polar bear, and the elusive tiger.  Now that Nora's imagination has taken hold, Grandmother's house holds many more opportunities for adventure.  This book was written in England, where the backyard is traditionally more of a garden than a lawn, but a sense of adventure is universal.  The text alone tells a good tale, but the illustrations add another layer of story which will delight readers young and old.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

PHOTOGRAPHIC: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero.  Illus.by  Zeke Pena.  Los Angeles, CA:  Getty Publications, 2018.  96p.  ISBN 978-194744000-5 hc. $19.95  Gr. 7-12  YA NF

This creative biography is formatted as a graphic novel and will appeal to teens.  The book begins by introducing Graciela's philosophy about photography, which captures the stark reality of life in black and white.  Her interest in photography was encouraged by her father, an amateur photographer who bought her a Brownie camera.  After rejecting the traditional life of Mexican wife and mother in favor of her passion for photography, she became an apprentice to established photographer, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, and explored the Mexican countryside.  She became obsessed with photos of birds and with death, then moved on to document immigrant communities in the United States and pictorial studies of various villages in her native Mexico.  Her work resides in art galleries across the U.S.  Illustrator Zeke Pena incorporates 24 black and white photos from Graciela's collection with his black and white graphics, sometimes placing a line drawing next to the original photo for visual impact.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Saturday, June 30, 2018

THE LANGUAGE OF STARS by Louise Howes.  New York:  Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016.  356p.  ISBN: 978-481462419 hc. $17.99   Gr. 9-12   YA FIC

Sarah finds herself at a "beginning of summer" party, thrown by her boyfriend, Fry, the most popular boy in school.  The party is at the most famous location in town, the cottage of Rufus Baylor, a famous poet.  When the cottage is destroyed, the teens are charged with manually repairing the cottage and attending a class on poetry appreciation - taught by Rufus himself.  Sarah learns a lot about herself, her family, and what is important in her life, during the weeks that she attends class and completes her community service.  Sarah is a very relatable character, revealing a mixture of teen priorities and self-growth.
Melissa Coyne, Reader, Munising Public Library

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

More reviews from previously published books...2015 to be exact.

THE START OF ME AND YOU by Emery Lord.  New York:  Bloomsbury, 2015. 373p.  ISBN: 978-1-61963-359-9 hc. $17.99     Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Paige is trying to recover from the loss of her boyfriend, Ryan, and regain a sense of normalcy that she hasn't had for the past year. She decides to make a PLAN for a normal life, just like she plans everything else in her life, from outfits to studying. However, Ryan's cousin, Max, moves back to town and his presence in her life throws all of her plans out the window. Can she get back to a normal life with all of the changes that come along with her friendship with Max?  Can you restart your life after an unforeseen tragedy changes everything?
Melissa Coyne, Reader, Munising Public Library

THERE WILL BE LIES by Nick Lake.  New York:  Bloomsbury, 2015.  454p.  ISBN: 978-1-61963-440-4 hc. $17.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Shelby Cooper is a 17 year-old with a rather normal, if somewhat quirky, life. Her mother has some unusual rules for her. When she is hit by a car outside the library, her whole life changes. Her mother packs them up and takes them on a "vacation", which raises many questions in Shelby's mind. Will Shelby ever get the truth from her mother?  Plot twists and and turns keep readers guessing about what will happen next.
Melissa Coyne, Reader, Munising Public Library

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds.  New York: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2017. 320p.  ISBN 978-1481438254 hc. $17.99    Gr. 9-12  YA FIC
This impactful story is written in verse to make it truly accessible to avid readers and occasional readers, alike.  The message is that important.  Readers are introduced to fifteen-year-old Will whose older brother has just been shot in the street.  Will doesn’t run with a gang, has never held a gun, but knows the rules….“No crying.  No snitching.  Revenge.”  Almost instinctively, he searches his dead brother’s room for the gun he knows is there and heads for the elevator to do what he feels he must do next.  In his haste to descend from his seventh floor apartment, Will’s elevator slowly stops at each floor to let on a new passenger.  Each new passenger on the elevator is a person from Will’s past.  Each one is a victim of gun violence.  They all have stories that clarify and tie into Will’s life story, letting him see the larger picture of choices, actions and consequences.  The simple technology of the elevator provides the perfect vehicle for this open-ended story of redemption or revenge.  Will must make that choice.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

AFTER THE FALL: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat.    New York: Roaring Book Press, 2017. 32p. ISBN 978-162672-6826 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Just like the nursery rhyme, this story starts out when Humpty Dumpty has a great fall.  This time, however, the king’s men at the hospital were able to put him together again.  His shell soon healed, but emotional scars set in.  The fear of falling - from any elevation - soon changed Humpty’s daily routines, causing him to miss out on his favorite activities, especially bird watching.  With some paper, tape, and glue, Humpty built paper models of birds, and modified them and adjusted them and tried to make them fly until he “got it just right.”  His determination and success with simple technology prompted Humpty to conquer his fear of falling, and he soon climbed back up that same wall he fell from.  Enjoy Santat’s fabulous art, which is half of the storytelling experience.  Readers will “crack up” at the surprise ending!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

MARCH FORWARD, GIRL by Melba Pattillo Beals.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2018) 214p. ISBN 978-132888212-7 hc. $16.99   YA 323.092 BE

One of the original “Little Rock Nine” who attended a white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas from in 1957, Beals grew up in segregation.  Whites and blacks had separate schools, neighborhoods, drinking fountains, and churches.  Blacks were out of slavery, but still employed and underpaid by whites, denied the same quality of education as whites, and expected to be subservient to whites.  Beals narrates stories of her childhood and her family’s decision to send her to Central High School’s first year of integrated classes.  The group of nine students was escorted to and from school by soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky until the end of the school year.  At that time, the Ku Klux Klan threatened the lives of the students, so their families sent them out of state to finish school.  This group was finally recognized with Congressional Gold Medals in 1999 for their bravery in the fight for equality. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Just received some book reviews on a couple of 2014 favorites.  Read on!
MORTAL HEART by Robin LaFevers.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 2014. 441p. ISBN:
978-0-547-62840-0 hc. 17.99. Gr. 8-12   YA FIC

Annith is a handmaiden of Death. She has served and trained in his convent for her entire life. When she learns that she is being groomed as a Seeress, Annith decides to sneak away and forge her own path to serve Death. During her travels, she meets up with others from her convent,and learns many secrets related to the kingdom and convent that she serves. Will these secrets change her life forever, and will Annith be able to follow her heart, save her kingdom, her convent, and have a chance at love? Mortal Heart is book number 3 in the "His Fair Assassin" series that includes GRAVE MERCY, DARK TRIUMPH, and COURTING DARKNESS.  The fifth book in the series will be published in 2020.
Melissa Coyne, Reader, Munising Public Library

LOVE IS THE DRUG by Alaya Johnson.  New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2014. 335p.  ISBN: 978-0-545-41781-5 hc. $17.99.    Gr. 9-12  YA FIC

Emily Bird is a brilliant student at a private boarding school in Washington DC. She is living an ideal life, until she wakes up in a hospital several days after attending a party with her boyfriend. She cannot remember anything that happened to her between the party and waking up. The world has changed, and there is a deadly flu epidemic sweeping the world.  Emily must piece together what happened to her, what her scientist parents are working on, and what she may unwittingly know about this outbreak. With the help of her drug-dealing friend, Coffee, Emily must piece all the clues
together, save her family, and save herself from the government agent who is stalking her.
Melissa Coyne, Reader, Munising Public Library

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SOMETIMES YOU FLY by Katherine Applegate. Illus. by Jennifer Black Reinhardt.  Boston:  Clarion Books, 2018.  ISBN 978-0547633909 hc. $17.99    Gr. K-2    E PIC

Applegate takes readers on a journey from their first birthday all the way to graduation with three-word teasers.  The phrase, "before the friend..." is accompanied by a picture of one boy sitting alone which turns into a picture of good friends as you turn the page.  A young girl struggling with words in a book "before the know..." turns into an avid reader telling stories to her stuffed animals at bedtime.  The phrasing changes toward the end of the book with words of encouragement that there are failures on the road to success.  Parents will like this book as much as their children do.  Much of the appeal is in the illustrations which echo the work of Stephen Gammell, a Caldecott winner who illustrated SONG AND DANCE MAN by Karen Ackerman (1988) and THE RELATIVES CAME by Cynthis Rylant (1985).
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

EYES & SPIES: How You’re Tracked and Why You Should Know by Tanya Lloyd Kyi. Illus. by Belle Wuthrich. Berkeley, CA:  Annick Press, 2017.  135p.  ISBN 978-155451911-8 hc. $22.95    Gr. 5-12    YA 323.448 KY

This book covers electronic privacy concerns because of computers and online programs that access our personal data and transmit it to other electronic sources.  We’re on camera at home, at the store, in the restaurant, and at school.  We willingly give our own information to social media sites and online accounts every day.  The information is condensed into 135 pages, presented with tables and graphs that are easy to understand.  Many chapters include “The Creepy Line” which features true life examples of topics such as hidden surveillance, cyberbullying, invasion of privacy, and gathering data from social media accounts.  There’s a complete bibliography and index at the back of the book to help check facts and read more about cyber topics.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

MIDNIGHT AT THE ELECTRIC by Jodi Lynn Anderson.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2017.  257p.  ISBN: 9780062393548 hc. $17.99   Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

In this science fiction story that takes place in 2065, characters and historic events are connected over the sp
an of 115 years.  Adri Ortiz is one of the smartest, most driven people on the planet and that's how she became a candidate for the Mars program.  Her only flaw seems to be a reluctance to socialize.  That could be attributed to the loss of her parents at an early age and the absence of any family members....until now.  While waiting for her launch date into space, Adri has been sent to an aged cousin, Lily, who lives on a a Kansas farm near the government colonization center where Adri will be training.  While helping Lily clean out closets, Adri finds a bundle of mysterious letters written by Lenore in England at the end of World War I in 1919 and a diary written by Catherine who resided on this very same Kansas farm during the Dust Bowl in 1934.  The common thread between all the female characters is their willingness to follow their dreams, even if it means traveling to new states, new countries, or a new planet.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

DOWN BY THE RIVER by Andrew Weiner. Illus. by April Chu.  New York: Abrams Books, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-14197-22936 hc. $17.99    Gr. K-3     E PIC
The basics of fly-fishing are covered in this fact-filled story about Art's day of fly fishing with his mother and grandfather.  They start the day with a checklist of food and equipment needed for their trip to the trout stream.  Art's mother is quite an expert, and snags a rainbow trout on her first try.  With coaching by his grandfather, Art uses good fishing technique and catches a brown trout of his own.  It's a gentle story of family tradition and nature conservation joined together by the sport of fly fishing.  The end pages are beautifully illustrated with a variety of flies such as "Zonker," "Copper John Jig," "Rattlin' Baitfish" and many more - each designed to catch different kinds of fish.  There's also an illustrated section titled "About Fly fishing" and one about the clothing needed for a safe fishing trip.  This book will inspire readers to find out more about fish and fishing.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

POE STORIES AND POEMS by Gareth Hinds.  Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2017. 110p. ISBN 978-07636-9509 pbk. $14.00  Gr.8-12   YA GRAPHIC

Several of Edgar Allen Poe’s haunting poems and short stories, including “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” "The Raven," and “The Tell-Tale Heart” have been adapted to graphic novel format by Hinds.  Poe’s original text is imbedded into the graphics.  Some readers will enjoy the illustrative interpretations of these famous works, while others may want to keep their own personalized visualizations of Poe’s rich text.  Hinds also modified “The Odyssey,” "King Lear," “Beowulf” and several other literature classics into a graphic novel format. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

THEY SAY BLUE by Jillian Tamaki. New York:  Abrams Books, 2018.  32p.  ISBN: 978-141972851-8 hc. $17.99   PreS - Gr. 1    E PIC

The full-spread illustrations, composed of acrylic paint on watercolor paper to give the effect of translucence, could almost tell the tale by themselves.  However, when you add the poetic text, the book comes alive with story.  With a little imagination, a trip to the beach becomes a discussion of blue sky and sea , a bus ride from school turns into a boat ride on waves of golden grasses, and a good night of sleep leads to waking up each morning with a renewed curiosity about nature and the colors that surround us.  Tamaki is a Caldecott Honor recipient for illustrating THIS ONE SUMMER, a middle school graphic novel which was written by her cousin, Mariko Tamaki.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

CHASING KING’S KILLER by James L. Swanson.  New York:  Scholastic Press, (2018) 364p. ISBN 978-054572666-6 hc. $19.99   323.092 SW
Swanson divides the book into four sections of story.  Part One introduces Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his philosophy of non-violent protest, the segregated southern states, and the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.  Things really speed up after 1963 with the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama Church, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Malcolm X, and opposition to the Vietnam War. Part Two chronicles the life of felon and future assassin, James Earl Ray.  Part Three provides the detailed planning of King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, and Part Four delves into the manhunt for Ray.  The last 100 pages consist of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s lasting legacy of peace, along with information for further study.  This very readable book is peppered with authentic black and white photographs from the time period. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

THE GREAT CHICKEN ESCAPE by Nikki McClure.  Petaluma, CA: Cameron Kids, 2018. 32p. ISBN 978-1-94490322-0 hc. $16.99     PreS-K     E PIC

McClure describes a single adventure from her time living in Alaska with monastic nuns.  She says that "Island life makes small events huge."  Her wordless story begins and ends with chickens in the fenced-in yard.  When the gate is left open, "Chickens run!" and prove themselves to be efficient escape artists.  They find interesting new landscapes and some danger, but seem to know that the setting sun means it's time to head home.  The stark illustrations were made by placing cut black paper over white for a striking visual experience.  It echoes her 2010 book, MAMA, IS IT SUMMER YET?, which incorporates a few shades of color, but stays true to the black and white art -and has now been printed as a board book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

TRUCK FULL OF DUCKS by Ross Burach.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-133812936-6 hc. $17.99      PreS-Gr.2      E PIC

Burach doesn't waste time or paper telling this funny story about a truck driver and his cargo of ducks.  The story begins and finishes on the end pages - maybe because there are so many bold illustrations to take in.  As the truck leaves to deliver ducks, the delivery address is eaten, leading the group on an adventure to see who ordered a truck full of ducks.  Each stop on the way is full of rhymes and fun phrasing.  The book looks young, but second graders will absolutely love the jokes and wordplay, such as when the pirate tells the truck driver he ordered "a truck full of crackers...not quackers!" for his pet parrot.  There's a scary moment when the final delivery is to a hungry fox who lives in the dark forest, but never fear.  There's a happy twist to this delightful children's story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

THE CHINESE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES by Ying Chang Compestine.  Illus. by David Roberts.  New York:   Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-141972542-5 hc. $17.99     Gr. 2-4     E PIC

The best thing about folktales is how authors envision new settings, new twists, and new endings to re-tell the old stories.  In the original version of THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES, traveling tailors make invisible clothing for a vain king, and leave town with the large fees he paid for the clothes.  This time, Compestine turns the tables on the dishonest palace administrators who've been steeling from the king.  The young king's tailors help to use the administrators' vanity against them by replacing the costly silks with burlap sacks and telling them that dishonest men can only see burlap, while everyone else sees the true beauty of the silks.   True to the original story, a little child blurts out the truth of the situation during the annual New Year parade.  The illustrator, Roberts, brings prior experience in fashion to the story, creating beautiful and authentic Chinese clothing.  He even makes the burlap look good!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI