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