Tuesday, December 31, 2019

KILLER STYLE by Serah-Marie McMahon and Alison Matthews David.
Illus. by Gillian 
Wilson.  Berkeley, CA:  Owlkids Books, 2019.  48p. 
ISBN 978-177147-2531 hc.     Gr. 5-9   

Filled with gruesome topics, the subtitle "How Fashion has Injured, Maimed, 
& Murdered Through History," explains the concept of the book and the 
attraction for young readers.  Sixteen historic dangers to health that were 
driven by fashion include Lethal Lead Makeup, Risky Radium, and Fatal 
Footwear Fiascos.  Most fashion risks were due to toxic chemicals in makeup, 
hair dye, and color processing in clothing before scientists took more care in 
testing materials used and worn by humans.  Other fashion trend tragedies, 
such as too long scarves and too tall shoes, could have been avoided by public
refusal to wear them, but we humans are slaves to fashion.  Each two-page
spread is filled with photos and block prints that enhance the reading 
experience and keep the pages turning. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

THE UNDEFEATED by Kwame Alexander . Illus. by Kadir Nelson. New York:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.
 32p.   ISBN 978-1328780966 hc. $17.99   Gr. 1-6    E PIC

Readers won't find text that is more meaningful than the poetic lines of Kwame Alexander 
as he briefly leads readers through years of black history.  His words have impact on readers 
of all ages.  He highlights the accomplishments of notable black people and doesn't forget 
the cruelty experienced by others with dark skin.  Three full-page spreads emphasize racial 
injustice with a single, repeated sentence, "This is for the unspeakable," combined with 
Kadir Nelson's brilliant oil illustrations depicting powerful images that complement the text.  
The words and images resonate with readers of all races.  An index of historical figures and 
events completes the emotional literary journey created by this award winning team of 
storyteller and artist.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo. New York: HarperTeen, 2019. 400p.
ISBN-13: 978-0062662835 hc. $17.99    Gr. 9-12    YA

Acevedo follows up the poetry of THE POET X with a beautifully written novel about a teen mother with a flair for food.  Emoni Santiago, of Puerto Rican heritage, lives in Philadelphia with her grandmother (Buela), attends highschool, cares for her two-year-old daughter, and works part-time to help with expenses.  She cooks for fun and intuitively chooses spices that reflect her emotions into the food.  When a culinary arts curriculum becomes available at school, Emoni enrolls, but is soon disillusioned with the emphasis on following directions and the lack of creative freedom.  After almost dropping out, her best friend and grandmother convince her to stay with the program.  As a result, she takes a class trip to Spain and is immersed in amazing restaurant experiences, while being mentored by renowned chefs.  At the same time, one of Emoni's culinary classmates wants to date her, forcing her to think about her future with a child, college and career, and her family and friends.  Acevedo's writing skillfully conveys the emotions of a teenager trying to make good decisions the will affect the rest of her life.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

MOTH: An Evolution Story by Isabel Thomas. Illus. by Daniel Egneus.  New York: Bloomsbury, 2019.  48p.  ISBN 978-1547600205 hc. $18.99     Gr. 2-5    JNF 595.78

The peppered moth, scientifically known as, biston betularia, can be found in light form, with mottled black and white wings that provide camouflage against tree bark, and those in dark form which are essentially black.  The black moths were easy to spot and became easy prey for bats and birds.  Over time, the Industrial Revolution deposited soot and pollution on the trees, making them darker in color.  As the trees changed color, the black moths were able to hide from predators and became the more dominant color of the moths.  After even more time, the factories cleaned up their pollution, the trees shed their dark bark, and the light form of peppered moth again began to increase in number .  Even though the title refers to "A Story of Evolution," the story and it's informational background emphasize that natural selection is the process that leads to evolution, which leads to adaptation of a species to better survive its surroundings.  This books is very easy to understand and wraps up with an adaptation of its own beginning sentence.  MOTH also features an eye-catching, reflective cover and is filled with magnificent illustrations that capture your thoughts, even after you finish reading.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

CROC & TURTLE: SNOW FUN by Mike Wohnoutka.  New York: Bloomsbury, 2019.  32p.  ISBN 978-168119637-4 hc. $17.99     PreS - Gr.1     E PIC

First of all, who can resist the big bubble eyes on Croc and Turtle?  The art, with it's muted gouache backgrounds, draws the reader's eye to the brightly colored action of two good friends who just happen to be a turtle and a crocodile.  As they meet for a fun-filled day, the friends have lists of activities to do.  That sounds good, until they realize that all Turtle's activities are for indoors and Croc's are for outdoors.  Determined to complete both lists, Croc soon declares boredom with indoor activities and Turtle says, "...outside is too cold and too dangerous!"  They try to spend the day by themselves, but become lonesome for each other.  Using all their ingenuity, Croc and Turtle come up with a surprising solution to combine their very different preferences.  Their commitment to work together is a tribute to friendship.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center