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