Monday, August 31, 2020

WHY DO WE CRY? by Fran Pintadera. Toronto, Ontario: Kids Can Press, 2020. 32p. ISBN 978-1525304774 hc. $16.99      Gr. K-3     E PIC

Mario asks his mother why we cry, and gets many answers that depend on emotions and situations.  She talks about sadness, anger, feeling alone, and finally, explains tears of happiness.  Mario’s mom also tells him that tears speak a language of their own that is universally understood.  Before reading aloud, parents and teachers may want to jump to the back of the book to explore the science of tears.  Seven simple questions about the anatomy and chemistry of tears are will help field questions that come up during reading.  Gentle words and thoughtful illustrations emphasize the skills of parenting and the special relationship between mother and son. 

Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, August 24, 2020

 MY OCEAN IS BLUE by Darren Lebeuf. Illus. by Ashley Barron. Toronto, Ontario: Kids Can Press, 2020. 32p.  ISBN 978-152530143-8 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Sparse text conveys the numerous characteristics of an ocean, including the water, the beach, and the plants that grow in both environments.  Fish and birds are part of the ocean too.  What can a person do with an ocean?  Readers can find activities on, under, and beside the water that can be visualized through vibrant, cut-paper collage illustrations.  Head for the nearest large body of water and have some water fun after reading this beautiful book!

Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, August 17, 2020

WHEN MY BROTHER GETS HOME by Tom Lichtenheld. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2020. 32p. ISBN 978-128498052 hc. $17.99     PreS – Gr.2     E PIC

As a young girl and her dog wait patiently for her brother to return home from school, she thinks of all the fun they will have together.  Every sentence begins, “When my brother gets home…” and ends with a multitude of possible activities they could take part in.  Each scenario is bigger than the one preceding it.  In the main character’s imagination, wading in the creek turns to an outing “into the deep, unexplored rainforest.”  Readers will enjoy the juxtaposition of the imaginative text that accompanies each illustration of a much more practical after-school activity.  The eye-catching watercolor and colored pencil illustrations show these expressive characters having loads of fun.  The end papers join the story with a dotted line map of the school bus route that zigzags through town while the girl waits for her brother.

Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, August 10, 2020

STELLA DIAZ NEVER GIVES UP by Angela Dominguez.  New York:  Roaring Brook Press, 2020.  186p.  ISBN 978-125022911-3 hc. $16.99     Gr. 3-4    JUV

Stella Diaz is a week into summer break, and already bored with the routine.  Her fifteen-year-old brother, Nick, who used to be fun, has a job at a pizza place and is developing other interests that don’t involve the company of a third-grade sister.  She gets a surprise when her mother announces a four-day trip to Oaxaca, Mexico to visit the ocean.  Stella, who was born in Mexico, has never been to the ocean, but has a passion for ocean waters and all the fish therein.  No one can match the excitement of Stella's first visit to the beach, but even Nick joins in the family fun after arriving.  Stella’s next adventure is summer camp at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, near her home.  This is the summer that her friends are all exploring their interests.  Best friend Jenny is at dance camp, while Stanley is at space camp.  She gets a little frustrated that they don’t love marine life as much as she does, but is glad to have their support when she proposes a project to use less plastic, keeping it out of the ocean where it could harm sea animals.  Besides learning about the effect of plastics on our oceans, readers will long for a mother as wise and kind as Stella’s and learn some Spanish vocabulary, which is sprinkled throughout the book.  This award-winning series started out with STELLA DIAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY (2018) and continues with STELLA DIAZ DREAMS BIG, to be released in January 2021.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, August 3, 2020

I LOVE YOU SO MOCHI by Sarah Kuhn.  New York:  Scholastic Press, 2019. 308p.  ISBN 978-133830288-2 hc. $17.99     Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Most teens can relate to the feelings of inadequacy that follow Kimi throughout her day.  She does best in her own imagination, where she can socialize and navigate family issues perfectly.  Her greatest skill is making colorful clothing out of unusual materials that make her stand out in a crowd.  However, not everyone appreciates the way she uses her artistic skills.  Kimi’s mom, who would like her to be serious about painting, blows her top when she finds out Kimi has been skipping art class.  As if on cue, a plane ticket to Japan arrives from Kimi's estranged grandparents fora  visit during spring break.  Kimi jumps at the chance to put some space between her mother and herself, while embarking on a cultural adventure to discover her heritage.  Besides meeting her maternal grandparents, Kimi meets her love interest, Akira, at his uncle’s mochi stand.  As they embark on sight-seeing excursions around Kyoto, Akira encourages Kimi to develop her design skills, rather than go to art school because her mom wants her to.  As it turns out, her grandparents agree, giving Kimi the courage to stand up for herself and apply to design school instead.  As Kimi discovers more about her family, she begins to understand herself better and paves a path to her future. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI