Thursday, April 25, 2019

ENDLING:  THE LAST by Katharine Applegate.  New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.  400p.  ISBN 978-0062335524 hc. $17.99    Gr. 3-6    JUV

In this fast-paced fantasy for middle schoolers, Byx, a doglike creature who walks upright, can detect when anyone is lying, and has the ability to glide like a flying squirrel, is immediately on the run as she is pursued by human hunters.  Arrows whiz past her as she glides from the top of a cliff to rescue a wobbyk named Tobble, who becomes her fast friend.  The youngest of the litter of an almost-extinct species of dairnes, Byx returns home with Tobble in tow to find that the human hunters have killed her entire dairne community.  She is now an endling - the last of her kind.  All alone, she joins forces to travel with Khara, a human tracker who disguises herself as a boy for safety.  The two search for allies in a world where different species vie for political dominance; and find themselves in league with a tiger-like felivet and flying raptidons.  Natural enemies form partnerships in order to survive against others with evil intentions.  Applegate’s award-winning writing style claimed the Newbery Medal in 2013 for THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN.  With other titles such as HOME OF THE BRAVE and ROSCOE RILEY RULES, readers can be confident that the Endling series will continue to be as dynamic as this first installment.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, April 19, 2019

LOVE by Matt de la Pena.  Illus. by Loren Long.  New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2018.  32p. ISBN 978-152474091-7 hc. $17.99    Gr. Pre-4    E PIC

There is no main character.  This story is everyone's story.  It's about love - a universally felt emotion that is expressed in different ways by different people from different cultures.  Some of us associate love with music, food, or nature; some with family and friends.  The author even takes readers through hard times when love is elusive.  All readers will relate to one or more of the situations.  Add Long's vibrant and textured illustrations for a total reading experience.  On the second-to-last page of the book, people are shown boarding a train for places unknown, accompanied by the love of those left behind.  What reader could feel sad when the bright raindrop-covered umbrellas make our eyes dance and our lips smile?  Readers will "love" this book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Saturday, April 13, 2019

WILD HORSE ANNIE: Friend of the Mustangs by Tracey Fern.  Illus. by Steven Salerno. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2019. 48p.  ISBN 978-0374303068 hc. $17.99   Gr. 1-4    E PIC

Consider this a visual version of WILD HORSE ANNIE AND THE LAST OF THE MUSTANGS: THE LIFE OF VELMA JOHNSTON by David Cruise (2010).  Salerno's illustrations bring the story to life with textured backgrounds and outlined figures that pop off the page.  Horse lovers will appreciate the many mustangs portrayed with accuracy and beauty.  Horse lover, Velma Bronn Johnston, interacted with mustangs as a child, but was interrupted in her eleventh year when she caught polio.  The disease left her with a bent spine and constant aches, but Velma never faltered in her love for horses.  One day she witnessed the cruel capture of mustangs which were then sold to the slaughterhouse for profit, and decided to take action to protect the horses.  She attended town meetings, spoke to the Nevada Senate, and wrote letters to government lawmakers.  She soon earned the nickname "Wild Horse Annie" and engaged the help of school children to join her in writing letters to the lawmakers in Washington D.C.  After Velma's twenty-year campaign, the U.S. Congress passed a federal law to protect wild horses on public lands in 1971. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, April 7, 2019

RED LIGHT, GREEN LION by Candace Ryan.  Illus. by Jennifer Yerkes.  Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2019.  32p.  ISBN 978-152530015-8 hc. $16.99    Gr. K-3    E PIC

This entire story takes place on a city corner while lion waits for the stop light to change from red to green. The experience becomes a word game as lion repeats the phrase, "Red light, green li..." and imagines what could happen with other words instead of "light."  The creative wordplay is perfectly supplemented by Yerkes' line drawings that consistently feature the stoplight and delightfully illustrate the "li..." words.  Once the red fireflies leave the light and the green fireflies replace them, the story comes to a conclusion.  Parents and teachers may want to model some language activities from this playful text.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, April 1, 2019

BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE by Brian Selznick and David Serlin.  Illus. by Brian Selznick.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2018. 190p.  ISBN 978-133818061-9 hc. $16.99    Gr. K-4     JUV

Selznick comes through again with his characteristic textured pencil drawings that won the 2008 Caldecott Award for THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET (2007) and additional recognition for WONDERSTRUCK (2011) and THE MARVELS (2015).  BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE has easy, repetitious text in large print for beginning readers, alongside text-rich views of Baby Monkey's office with book titles and art prints that give lots of hints about the crime.  Turn to the back of the book for Serlin's contribution  - the documentation of historical artifacts in the office.  The pint-sized detective predictably looks for clues, writes notes, has a healthy snack, and dresses himself before quickly solving each crime.  Baby Monkey has a little trouble putting on his pants, an activity drawn so skillfully that readers will have to suppress a string of giggles.  When the detective finally gets out of his office, there's always a set of tracks leading to the thief.  Readers can try to guess the thief''s identity based on the size and pattern of the tracks.  This book is filled with fun - and leads to a sweet ending.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI