Monday, November 30, 2020

 ERIC by Shaun Tan.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2020.  32p.  ISBN 978-1338622089 hc. $19.99     Gr. 2-5   Juv.

When Eric arrived as a foreign exchange student, his host family thought he had odd habits and a penchant for unusual activities.  He was defnitely detail-oriented.   Eric adjusted to the family.  The family adjusted to Eric and attributed his uniqueness to being "a cultural thing."  Tan's illustrations in charcoal and colored pencil bring a different perspective to the story than the text implies.  He challenges readers to acknowledge and accept the differences of  those around us.  It will make readers smile.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, November 23, 2020

 ADDY'S CUP OF SUGAR by Jon J. Muth.  New York:  Scholastic Press, 2020.  32p.  ISBN 978-0439634280 hc. $17.99     PreS - Gr. 3     E PIC

Based on a Buddhist story of healing, Muth lets his giant panda, Stillwater, help a young girl begin the grieving process for her recently deceased kitten and constant companion.  Addy wants the kitten brought back to life, so Stillwater agrees to make a healing medicine.  He gives Addy a mission to borrow a cup of sugar from any neighbor who hasn't experienced the death of a person or pet.  As she compassionately listens to the neighbors' stories of loved ones passed, she also feels the support of community, as they have all had a similar experience.  Addy wisely realizes that the medicine was for her in order to cope with her loss.  As is usual in Muth's picture books, the watercolor illustrations are eye-catching, but serene.  Readers may remember Stillwater from his previous books, ZEN SHORTS (2005), ZEN TIES (2008),  ZEN GHOSTS (2010), and ZEN SOCKS (2015).  He and Addy are longtime friends.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, November 16, 2020

EMMY IN THE KEY OF CODE by Aimee Lucido. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.  406p.  ISBN 978-0358040828 hc. $16.99     Gr. 4-7     JUV FIC

Every kid who’s moved to a new town knows how hard it is to adjust to a new house, new school, and new friends.  Sprinkle in some culture shock, as Emmy and her musical parents move all the way from Wisconsin to San Francisco, California.   Emmy loves music, but can’t sing like her mother or play piano like her dad; so she uses this change of scenery to remove herself from her usual music electives.  Instead, she signs up for a computer class.  Her soon-to-be friend, Abigail, also finds herself in computer class, and the two quickly begin to learn coding.   They spend lunch hours with their inspiring computer teacher, Ms. Delaney, who becomes seriously ill and puts their computer projects in jeopardy.  Written in verse to make the text emphasize important parts of this heartwarming story, Lucido also includes information on binary code and programming loops.  Text formatting and book design are exceptional.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, November 9, 2020

WOKE: A Young Poet's Call to Justice by Mahogany Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood.  Illus. by Theodore Taylor III.  New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2020.  48p. ISBN: 978-1250311207 hc. $18.99      Gr. 6-12      JNF 323.23

Wake your soul to the poetry of Browne, Acevedo, and Gatwood in 24 poems about activism, acceptance, forgiveness, understanding people who are different from you, and recognizing yourself in the world.  My favorite piece, "Unfurling People," describes immigration as "tucking your roots carefully into yourself and repotting in a different land."  These are timely topics, written with diversity in mind. Taylor's comic book illustrations with heavy black outlines spread across the length of two pages for maximum impact.  The very last of these inspiring poems is titled, "Woke," which readers will be after digesting the contents of such thoughtful words.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, November 2, 2020

ONE LITTLE BAG: An Amazing Journey by Henry Cole. New York: Scholastic Press, 2020. 48p. ISBN 978-133835997-8 hc. $18.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

If the detailed pencil drawings aren't enough to draw readers into this exquisite wordless book, the story is crafted to make you think about conserving natural resources as a lifestyle.   Before the story officially begins, Cole takes readers through the process involved in making a single paper bag.  Watch the brown log move from the forest to the paper mill, where it's chipped into pulp and made into lunch bags.  One of those lunch bags ends up with a boy who uses it to carry his lunch, hold tools, protect his sheet music, transport cookies, and, as time goes on, to share items with his wife.  The lunch bag, once embellished with a heart from his mom, now has additional decoration from family members who also believe in reusing materials.  Cole ends the story with a heartwarming tribute to the life cycle.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI