Tuesday, December 28, 2021

MEL FELL by Corey R. Tabor.  New York: Balzer & Bray, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978006287802-4 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Mel is a brave little bird who feels ready to fly.  Right now.  From her nest at the top of a very tall tree, she dove straight down, past a family of owls, a group of squirrels, a bee hive, a spider web, and a ladybug, into the water to catch a small fish.  Part of the adventure is the visual element of Mel falling through page after page, until she hits the water, snags a fish and, as readers turn the book, she flies back up the tree to the nest.  The critters cheer as she passes them again in the other direction.  The Author's Note is a short paragraph about kingfishers (like Mel) who live near water and dive for fish.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

OUR TABLE by Peter H. Reynolds.  New York: Orchard Books, 2021.  48p.  ISBN 978-133857232-2 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

Violet's family spent many happy hours together at the family table, sharing meals and making memories.  Then, "Violet found herself alone at the table" more often, as her family began using their electronic devices instead of talking with each other.  The illustrations turn a disconcerting purple while Violet evaluates her father watching TV, her mother texting on the cell phone, and her brother playing online games.  While she thinks about a plan of action, the family table begins to shrink until it disappears altogether.  Violet breaks through each electronic barrier and works with her family members to build a new table.  As the colors return to the page, Violet's family makes new memories together, bigger and better than before.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

NICKY & VERA: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sis. New York: Norton Young Readers, 2021.  64p. ISBN 978-132401574-1 hc. $19.95     Gr. 3-7     J 940.5318 SI

Sis reveals his amazing storytelling skills by tackling the topic of the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, while keeping the reader's interest with imagery composed of pattern, intricate detail, and muted colors.  It is a dual story of Vera, who was one of the children rescued from Czechoslovakia and taken to England by train.  That kindertrain, and many others like it, was organized by Nicholas Winton, a London banker who financed the transport of Czech children to England in 1939, as the German army advanced to take over Eastern Europe.  With sparse text blended into full-page illustrations, Sis rolls out history in an honest fashion.  Historical notes are included at the back of the book. Readers will want to read it a second time to notice more information discreetly incorporated into the illustrations.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

WHO WILL PULL SANTA'S SLEIGH? by Russ Willms.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. 40p.  ISBN 978-035839342-9 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

A humorous re-examination of the Santa legend leads readers to the question of how Santa chose reindeer to pull his sleigh for Christmas Eve deliveries.  Just like anyone who needs a job done, Santa advertised for sleigh pullers and wound up with a room full of eager animal applicants.  Interviews with bats and sharks were questionable.  Problems with skunks, gophers, and elephants presented themselves during the trial runs.  Santa thought the monkeys did a great job, until a snowball fight erupted.  Dogs performed well, until they chased after a squirrel.  The only applicants left were reindeer, and they turned out to be the best team of all.  Problem solved.  Legend intact.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY: Uncovering Tutankhamun's Tomb by Candace Fleming.  New York:  Scholastic Focus, 2021.  IBSN 978-1338596618 hc. $18.99      Gr. 5-8     J932.014 FL

Fleming guides readers through the background of royal burials in Egypt's Valley of the Kings before narrowing her focus to the sensational tale of King Tutankhamun's Tomb.  This early twentieth century archealogical dig has been documented and recounted over the years.  The curse that surrounded Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, who headed up excavation of the tomb, has been used to fuel horror stories and investigations of the supernatural.  This retelling is factual, and includes more than 75 historical photos, as well as an extensive bibliography, source notes, and index.  However, the book reads like a novel, with personalities, intrigue, government regulations, the Egyptian climate, and the dangerous work of tomb excavation.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

EARTH's AQUARIUM: Discover 15 Real-life Water Worlds by Alexander Kaufman.  Illus. by Mariana Rodrigues.  New York: Magic Cat Publishing, 2021.  66p.  ISBN 978-141975289-6 hc. $24.99     Gr. 3-5     JUV NF

Tour the various ecosystems of aquatic life found around the world, such as mudflats, kelp forests, coral reefs, river estuaries, deep sea, polar ice, and more.  The geology and animal life is reviewed in each ecosystem, covering vocabulary and facts that fill a two-page index.   Readers will appreciate the color and detail shown for each plant and animal featured in this amazing, oversized, informational book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

YOURS IN BOOKS by Julie Falatko.  Illus. by Gabriel Alborozo.  Petaluma, CA: Cameron Kids, 2021. 36p.  ISBN 978-195183620-7 hc. $17.99     PreS -Gr. 2     E PIC

In this epistolary story, Owl T. Fencepost writes letters back and forth with Bessie Squirrel, the owner of the local bookstore, and carries on correspondence aimed at finding a way for him to read quietly with a cup of tea.  Owl's book requests begin with titles aimed at isolating himself from the neighborhood, which is filled with noisy children who want him to read aloud to them.  As the youngsters slowly invade his daily life, Owl gets books about how to make cookies and crafts and tea parties.  Readers will notice that the formality of the letters becomes more friendly as Owl transforms from grumpy to caring, with the help of his local bookseller, who also enjoys a good tea party.   The illustrations add another dimension to the story with personification of the animals' body language and facial expressions that every reader can interpret.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

THE GOODY by Lauren Child. New York: Orchard Books, 2020.  32p.  ISBN 978-133878954-6 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2    E PIC

Family dynamics are always interesting, especially the different personalities and interactions between siblings.  After eyeballing the amazingly patterned illustrations, readers will relate to Chirton, the younger brother who always ate his broccoli, washed his hands properly, and went to bed on time.  His parents rewarded his good behavior with a "Goody" badge, because his older sister Myrtle usually behaved badly.  In time, Chirton began to question, "What is so GOOD about being a Goody?"  He decided to be bad also, which upset the entire household.  In contrast, Myrtle tried to change her behavior by being good.  Because no one is good or bad all the time, they reached a balance everyone could live with.  Hint: Watch for the very important rabbit in this story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

A TRUE WONDER: The Comic Book Hero Who Changed Everything by Kirsten W. Larson. Illus. by Katy Wu.  Hew York: Clarion Books, 2021.  40p.  ISBN 978-035823842-3 hc. $17.99     Gr. 2-5     J741.5973 LA

When comics books began to sell in 1941, the artists were all men and the superheros were also men.  When All-American Comics heard the idea for Wonder Woman, the boss decided to give it a try.  The children who read about Wonder Woman loved the stories, now written by a woman, and asked for more.  After all, women stepped up to do non-traditional jobs during World War II when most men became soldiers. However, men wanted their jobs back after the war, women were demoted, and job opportunities disappeared.  The 1960's brought women's rights issues to the forefront of politics, paving the way for smart, strong women to enter the workforce once more.  Wonder Woman followed suit over the years and remained a superhero for all, but especially young girls and women.  By researching the history of a comic book character, the politics of equality and opportunity get a closer look, as well.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

MORE THAN SUNNY by Shelley Johannes. New York: Abrams Books, 2021. 48p. ISBN 978-141974181-4 hc. $18.99     PreS - Gr.2     E PIC

When big sister knocks on little brother's door to wake him up, readers know it will lead to a day of adventure....and wordplay.  Visit a pond full of ducks to change the day from "sunny and mucky" to "sunny and ducky."  The siblings lead their readers through summer sunshine and rain to a "windy and squirrely" fall; then a "snowy and swirly" winter.  Young writers will expand their vocabulary, while enjoying the freedom to transform words into rhyming phrases.  If the text isn't already wonderful enough for the perfect read-aloud book, the illustrations are eye-popping, with the siblings' bold stroke hairstyles and huge smiles.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

BIRD HOUSE by Blanca Gomez.  New York: Abrams Books, 2021.  32p. ISBN 978-141974408-2 hc. $17.99     PreS - Gr. 1     E PIC

Solid geometric figures and patterned backgrounds enhance the sparse text of a thoughtful story about a young girl and her abuela.  On a winter's day walk in the park, they found an injured bird and took it home to heal.  The young girl, who adored her grandmother anyway, loved the adventure of restoring the bird to good health.  They set the bird free and life went back to normal.  Months later, the bird returned and the girl asked to keep it, but her abuela said, "No darling, the bird doesn't belong to us."  Readers will experience a tug to their heartstrings and a reminder that wildlife needs to be wild.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

THE GIRL FROM THE SEA by Molly Knox Ostertag. New York: Graphix, 2021.  245p.  ISBN 978-133854057-4 hc. $14.99    Gr. 8-12    Y.A. Graphic

Typical of teens raised on an island or small town, Morgan wanted to finish high school and leave her life behind.  Why was she so desperate to put space between herself and her loved ones?  Because she had a secret - she was gay.  Then she met a special girl who saved her from drowning and also had a secret - she was a selkie from the sea and Morgan's kiss allowed her to leave the sea in human form.  As Morgan helps Keltie navigate dry land and learn human ways, there are some comedic moments.  The girls devise a plan to re-route an excursion boat away from its usual course near a seal rookery where Keltie lived previously.  An act of heroism sends Keltie back to the sea for seven years, but the girls both know that destiny will reunite them.  The graphic interpretation of this story is laid out well for a large range of readers.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Friday, September 24, 2021

JUST LIKE THAT by Gary D. Schmidt. New York: Clarion Books, 2021. 387p. 
ISBN 978-054408477-3 hc. $16.99     Gr. 5-8     JUV

Schmidt takes readers back to the summer of 1968, when Meryl Lee Kowalski experiences crushing grief over the death of her friend and classmate, Holling Hoodhood, protagonist of THE WEDNESDAY WARS (2007).  Working on their own problems, Meryl Lee's parents send her to St. Elene's Preparatory Academy for Girls, a boarding school in Maine.  It is like a foreign land populated with wealthy students already sectioned off in cliques, an exacting headmistress, and a very antagonistic teacher, all of whom make Meryl Lee's life miserable.  As time goes on, she makes a couple of friends, becomes an unlikely member of the soccer team, and meets Matt Coffin, a boy with a past.  Eventually, most the adults pull through for their long-distance children, but readers are kept in suspense wondering about the well-being of Matt and Meryl Lee.  The story takes place in 1968, when the Vietnam War weighs heavy on American hearts.  This is the second spin-off from THE WEDNESDAY WARS; the first being OKAY FOR NOW (2011).  Read them all!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, September 19, 2021

NOT NOW, COW by Tammi Sauer. Illus. by Troy Cummings.  New York: Abrams Books, 2021. 32p. ISBN 978-1-41974629-1 hc. $14.99     Pres-K    E PIC

Rooster announces the onset of spring and everyone is ready for the wind to blow, for rain to fall, and plants to grow.  Duck, Sheep, and Goat are ready.  But cow can't seem to dress for the season.  When summer, fall and winter make their way around the calendar, the farm animals participate in the proper seasonal activities.  But not cow.  What an imaginative way to introduce or review the seasons with young readers (and listeners).  The illustrations are bright and engaging, as is the repetitive text with easy-to-read vocabulary.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, September 10, 2021

MOO-MOO, I LOVE YOU! by Tom Lichtenheld and Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  New York: Abrams Books, 2020  32p.  ISBN978-141974706-9 hc. $17.99     PreS-K     E PIC

What could be cuter than black and white spotted cows drawn on a paper bag?  How about clever word play with words that include the letters "m-o-o."  Mother cow loves her baby to the moo-n and back, no matter what kind of moo-d they're in.  Every child will want to they're loved just as much.  Lichtenheld wrote this book in tribute to his writing friend and famous children's book author, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who died in 2017.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, September 3, 2021

THE LITTLE BLUE BRIDGE by Brenda Maier. Illus. by Sonia Sanchez.  New York:  Scholastic Press, 2021.  40p.  ISBN 978-133853801-4 hc. $18.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

This clever retelling of "Three Billy Goats Gruff" uses family dynamics to begin the tale with Ruby's three brothers telling her she's too small to cross a log bridge and gather blueberries for a pie.  However, they were met by Santiago, the neighborhood bully, who demanded a snack from anyone crossing the bridge.  With the promise of a better snack from the brother following behind, Santiago let the first brother pass.  Again, the second brother promised better snacks from the next brother and, finally, from Ruby last in line. Ruby didn't have snacks with her, so she found supplies to make her own bridge across the water.  Santiago was impressed with her determination and helped her finish.  After a lot of opposition within the group, they finally cooperated to bake and share delicious blueberry pie with everyone.  Not only are the illustrations bright and expressive, the typesetting is very large and spaced out for easy reading.  Fans of children's classics will appreciate the author's background information on the origins of this folktale.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Saturday, August 28, 2021

THE WHOLE HOLE STORY by Vivian McInerny. Illus. by Ken Lamug.  New York:  Versify, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-0358129486 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2     E FIC

Zia, who liked to collect things in her pocket, found a hole in it one day.  It grew bigger and bigger until she fell through it, only to fill the hole with water for fishing and swimming.  Zia's imagination also grew bigger, turning clouds into animals, including an elephant with a story of its own.  After several adventures, she set the hole down and looked at it from faraway.  As she viewed from different angles, the hole grew smaller and returned to its original pocket size.  Zia's adventure is enhanced by Lamug's animated illustrations that include a worm with personality, a cloud lion with an attitude, and an optimistic elephant to round out the story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

HENRY AT HOME by Megan Maynor.  Illus. by Alea Marley.  New York: Clarion Books, 2021.  40p. ISBN 978-132891675-4 hb. $17.99     PreS-Gr. 1     E PIC

Henry and Liza were the best of siblings and playmates.  They did everything together and had their own special place at the base of an old twisty tree.  However, everything changed when it was time for Liza to attend kindergarten - by herself.  Henry had to say home, and was quite upset on the first day of school.  When Liza returned with stories of her new routine, Henry shared his adventures with her also.  Life would be different for both of them, except for the time they spent together in their Best Place in the twisty tree.  This is a thoughtful story of transition for youngsters.  The digitally drawn illustrations move the story along in beautiful hues of color.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

HOW TO WEAR A SARI by Darshana Khiani. Illus. by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2021. 32p.  ISBN 978-1328635204 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2    E PIC

Tired of bring told she was too young to do many activities, the protagonist decides to impress her family by mastering the complicated technique of wearing a sari.  There’s a reason that folding a sari is considered to be an adult skill.  Readers will learn the procedure for wearing a sari, beginning with the undergarments, followed by tucking folding and pleating the long fabric into a shirt and shawl wrapped around the body.  Readers of all ages will enjoy this fanciful peek info Indian culture and reminder of how families of all cultures share the same values.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, July 16, 2021

LLAMA GLAMARAMA by Simon James Green.  Illus. by Garry Parsons.  New York: Orchard books, 2020.  32p.  ISBN 978-133873618-2 hc. $14.99      PreS - Gr. 2      E PIC

Larry lived with a conservative, rule-following herd of llamas that probably wouldn't approve of his dancin' feet.  He hid all clues of dancing from his friends, until they walked in on him one evening.  He dashed away, and came upon a glamarama where creatures could just be themselves and dance to their heart's content.  Larry loved it!  He returned to tell his friends, knowing that they would reject him, but got a pleasant surprise.  They didn't mind.  They all had secrets about themselves, and were relieved to know that each was accepted as they were.  Isn't that what we all want?  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  

Friday, July 9, 2021

WISHES by Muon Thi Van.  Illus. by Victo Ngai.  New York: Orchard Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN: 978-133830589-0 hc. $18.99      Gr. 1-4      E PIC

Based on the author's own experiences, the story of leaving the only home she every knew unfolds.  The family packed up in the middle of the night, because it wasn't safe to live their country anymore.  They boarded a boat that was too small to sail the waves of a turbulent ocean, seeking refuge in a port where they wouldn't be persecuted because of their politics.  This particular story is about leaving Viet Nam for Hong Kong, but the refugee saga is the same; the journey is dangerous and secretive.  For most, it's the only way out of a repressive environment, so the story continues to play out over and over again.  It's a  sad story that ends with hope for the future.  Ngai's somber illistrations are outstanding, conveying the serious nature of the story, but adding stylistic twists that make a big impression on the reader.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 28, 2021

ATHENA: GODDESS OF WISDOM AND WAR by Imogen Greenberg. Illus. by Isabel Greenberg. New York:  Amulet Books, 2021. 96p. ISBN: 978-141974859-2 hc. $14.99     Gr. 3-8    JUV

This first book in the Tales of Great Goddesses series is a collection of epic stories, condensed into a graphic novel where the illustrations carry the same importance as the shortened text.  It’s a great way for readers to absorb a lot of information quickly, while sparking an interest in mythology.  Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, in full text, can wait until college.  After an introduction to some notable characters, the story begins with Athena’s miraculous birth, springing forth from the head of Zeus.  She then claims the city of Athens from her formidable uncle Poseidon, raises her nephew to be a king, has a weaving contest with Arachne, and summarizes her part in the Trojan War.  She proves to be intelligent and just, but can turn into a jealous and meddling adversary.  Overall, Athena ranks high on the list of Greek gods and goddesses.  Can’t wait to see more in this series.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 21, 2021

ARLO DRAWS AN OCTOPUS by Lori Mortensen. Illus by Rob Sayegh, Jr.  New York:  Abrams Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-1419742019 hc. $16.99     PreS - Gr. 1     E PIC

Inspired by something the readers don't know about, Arlo came home one day ready to draw an octopus.  He concentrated on each part of the octopus, but the completed drawing wasn't what he envisioned.  Feel discouraged, he bumped into an octopus who was drawing a picture of a boy.  As it turns out, Arlo and the octopus were more accepting of each other's drawings than their own.  What could possibly happen when they started drawing elephants together?  Sayegh's two-page illustrations stand out against a light background, leaving plenty of space for a few easy-to-read sentences on each spread. He makes Arlo's crayon drawings come to life.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 14, 2021

OH LOOK, A CAKE! by J.C. McKee.  New York: Clarion Books, 2021. 32p. ISBN 978-035838030-6 hc. $18.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

When two jungle friends come upon a decorated birthday cake, their curiosity takes hold.  Sloth and Lemur start to speculate about whose cake it could be.  They wonder what elephant, tiger, and peacock would do with the cake, as well as python, rhinoceros and others.  Readers will be amused with the illustrations, especially imagining cutting the cake in pieces small enough to share with an army of ants.  Don't miss the surprise ending! 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 7, 2021

BEFORE THEY WERE ARTISTS: Famous Illustrators as Kids by Elizabeth Haidle.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021.  64p.  ISBN: 978-132880154-8 hc. $17.99     Gr. 3-6     J 704

Learn about six notable illustrators who found fame by adding their artistic talents to children's books.  This graphic novel presents short biographies of  Wanda Gag, Maurice Sendak, and Tove Jansson, Jerry Pinkney, Yuyi Morales, and Hayao Miyazaki, all 20th century illustrators,  The graphic format of the book makes each story easy to follow for younger readers, but includes plenty of informational text to make the biographies quite comprehensive.  Of course, the bios are focused on what made the artists great, but gives extra information to give readers an impression of the people they were.  Look for a complete Bibliography and page of Source Notes on the final pages.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, May 31, 2021

ABOVE THE RIM: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant. Illus. by Frank Morrison. New York: Abrams Books, 2020. 40p. ISBN 978-1419741081 hc. $18.99    Gr. 2-5    j921

Elgin Baylor was born in 1934 and grew up in Washington, D.C., where he was banned from "whites only" parks and attended segregated schools.  His love of basketball was evident, as he perfected a jump shot that looked like he flew up to the hoop.  Elgin played for colleges in the Northwest before joining the Minneapolis Lakers (later the Los Angeles Lakers) in 1958.  When he traveled with the team, he was not allowed to stay with them in hotels and restaurants.  At the same time, the Civil Rights movement was awakening throughout the country.  Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Alabama and there were sit-ins at a lunch counter in Kansas.  Famous for his amazing basketball skills, Elgin refused to play until he was treated equally during travel games, making the National Basketball Association take a stand on equal treatment of players on their teams.  As a basketball hall-of-famer, Elgin continued to play for the Lakers until 1972 and went on to coach the New Orleans Jazz until 1979.  Morrison adds great visuals to the story with dramatic expressions on his elongated characters in rich colors.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, May 24, 2021

OUR LITTLE KITCHEN by Jillian Tamaki. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2020. 32p  ISBN 978-1419746550 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

What does it take to provide a community meal for a large group of hungry people?  It takes workers, food ingredients, and a menu.  This particular community kitchen supplements its food pantry with a garden.  The workers evaluate and organize ingredients on-hand to create a complete healthy meal.  The lively illustrations show a flurry of activity that doesn't slow down until all the guests have been served.  It's apparent that the author has volunteered in a community kitchen, as stated in the Author's Note, because every aspect of meal preparation and service have been covered.  Illustrations are hand-drawn in ink and computer-filled with color, consistently telling the story.  Speech bubbles provide the process of preparing a meal, along with a few basic recipe ideas.  Readers will need to combine visual and verbal ques to comprehend the whole story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, May 17, 2021

MR. COMPLAIN TAKES THE TRAIN by Wake Bradford. Illus. by Stephan Britt.  New York: Clarion Books, 2021. 32p.  ISBn 978-054482981-7 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Mr. Complain can't seem to catch a break.  First of all, his train is late.  When he boards, there's nowhere to put his luggage, his seat isn't comfortable, and the other passengers (all animals) are objectionable.  He finally finds a pleasant space in the dining car, before being jostled about as the train chugs uphill and downhill and goes through a tunnel to reach his destination.  Upon reaching the final stop in Dullsville, Mr. Complain changes his tune about the train ride.  All text is in speech bubbles, supplementing the graphic story.  This is one rollicking story!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, May 10, 2021

THE POWER OF YET by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. New York: Abrams Appleseed, 2021. 32p.  ISBN 978-141974003-9 hc. $16.99     PreS-Gr. 2     E PIC

Young readers will relate to trying out activities, only to fail and be told that they're not ready.  Not yet.  Luckily, the main character has a wonderful, wise parent who states that it takes patience, practice, and the ability to make mistakes before finally mastering skills.  The text rhymes and is easy-to-read.  Watercolor and ink illustrations are calming, but reflect emotion with just the right facial expressions.  This book about growing up is recommended for individual readers or a whole classroom at once.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, May 3, 2021

WHEN YOU BREATHE by Diana Farid. Illus. by Billy Renkl. Petaluma, CA: Cameron Kids, 2020. 32p. ISBN 978-19440903930 hc. $17.95   PreK-Gr.3     E PIC

This beautifully illustrated book will fill your soul (and your eyeballs) with color, texture and motion.  The air is always moving, as the text is essentially a poem about breathing.  Air flows inside the human body to the lungs, which are represented by an upside-down tree that branches out and ends in clusters of plant buds.  In scientific terms, which are found in the back of the book, the tree trunk is the trachea, branching out into bronchi, ending up as alveoli.  Farid keeps the poetry basic and experiential.  Imagine using this book to start a health lesson on the respiratory system, or just enjoy reading it while you breathe in and out
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, April 26, 2021

GET UP, ELIZABETH!: Even a Queen Must Get Out of Bed by Shirin Yim Bridges. Illus. by Alea Marley. Petaluma, CA: Cameron Books, 2020. 32p. ISBN 978-194490394-7 hc. $16.95    Gr. K-2   E PIC

A mass of curls on a fluffy pillow greets readers, as rays of sun beam through the window. It's time for Elizabeth to get up, put on her stockings, wash her face and brush her teeth in most unusual ways, add a stiff petticoat, and sew on a collar.  Now she's ready to make an appearance at the royal court, because she's really Queen Elizabeth of England, as a child. Getting dressed in fashionable clothing of the 1500s was quite a chore, as explained at the end of the book.  Marley's boldly colored illustrations charmingly document the process.  Another notable book about period dress is SARAH MORTON'S DAY: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters (1989).
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

BLADES OF FREEDOM by Nathan Hale. New York: Amulet Books, Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series, 2020. 127p. ISBN 978-141974691-8 hc. $13.99    Gr. 4-6   JFIC

In this witty jaunt through history, Nathan Hale and a Ninja Turtle look-alike spin the Louisiana Purchase Wheel of History to cover each piece of the the complicated events and people who played a part in the largest land deal of all time.  Two major players were Napolean Bonaparte of France and a legendary leader of a slave uprising in the French colony of Haiti.  The book's end papers show a map of North America in 1802, depicting the United States occupying land east of the Mississippi, Louisiana Territory (owned by France) stretching to the Rocky Mountains, and Spain owning everything else, including Mexico.  Present day Canada belonged to England, showing the dominance of England, Spain, and France in the 1700's.  Historic events come to life through the comic book style of storytelling, impressive in shades of teal and gray.  As with all Hazardous Tales, the author infuses a generous amount of silly humor to make the stories memorable for young readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, April 12, 2021

HERE AND NOW by Julia Denos. Illus. by E.B. Goodale. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. 32p. ISBN 978-132846564-1 hc. $17.99    PreS – Gr. 2    E PIC

Starting with the author’s note at the end of the book, readers will learn that the words are brief and meditative in nature.  Don’t rush.  Just read, turn the pages, and breathe in and out to experience the moment.  To accompany the relaxing verbiage, the illustrator has cleverly incorporated a repeating image of a book within a book, book covers from this author/illustrator team, an impressive cutaway of above and below ground level, and ripples in a reflecting pool.  Readers will want to  enjoy the perfect combination of text and illustration by reading it over and over again.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Monday, April 5, 2021

SYDNEY & TAYLOR EXPLORE THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD by Jacqueline Davies. Illus. by Deborah Hocking. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. 79p. ISBN 978-0358106319 hc. $14.99 Gr. 2-3 JUV

What do you say to your best friend who wants to "see more of the whole wide world?" 
 Sydney, who was used to creature comforts such as a reliable food source and a cozy
home, pushed his limits aside and said, "Then we will."  Thus began the journey from the 
burrow, into the sunlight, past Miss Nancy's House, and beyond.  The delightful pair didn't 
pack lunch, due to miscommunication, and decided to hunt frogs - a first-time experience
for them both.  As they were negotiating with their prey, a bouncy dog scared them. 
Taylor rolled into a ball, as hedgehogs do, while Sydney had to bring on the skunk spray.  
Bigger danger awaited them as a truck came down the road, stopping only when
Miss Nancy waved the truck down.  The duo returned home to reminisce about the
adventure.  Maybe, someday, they'll write a book.  In fact, SYDNEY & TAYLOR TAKE 
A FLYING LEAP will be published in August 2021.  Happy reading!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, March 29, 2021

THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES by Suzanne Collins. New York: Scholastic Press, 2020. 517p. ISBN: 978-133863517-1 hb. $27.99     Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

How could this author top the dystopian complexity of The Hunger Games novels?  By writing a prequel featuring 18 year-old Coriolanus Snow, before he became President Snow of the Capitol, who controlled all of Panem’s twelve districts through political intrigue, along with the annual reaping of children for the Hunger Games.  Readers find Coriolanus to be a good student and quite charming, which helps him conceal the fact that his illustrious family has no money for his college education.  He’s been chosen to mentor one of the Hunger Games tributes and is in the running for a scholarship, if his tribute performs well.  His ambition for power and the comforts of wealth drive Coriolanus to the savagery needed for success in this society where everyone watches their backs. Coriolanus navigates unknown territory with the help of his grandmother, devoted cousin, classmates, and two diabolical professors who, together, define the term “sinister.”  Jabberjays and venomous neon snakes, both mutants designed to keep the Capitol in power, also play significant roles in the story.  Regardless of having read the original three books, readers will be hooked by the end of the first chapter.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, March 22, 2021

AGENT’S HANDBOOK – ODD SQUAD by Tim McKeon and Adam Peltzman.  New York: Macmillan, 2020.  153p.  ISBN# 978-1250-222664 h.c. $13.9   Gr. 3-6    Graphic Novel JUV

This book was written by the creators of TV Show “Odd Squad” and provides details that will intrigue entertain young readers.  Set up as a handbook this book connects to both the show’s math themes and adding the silly O alliterations, details and jokes.  The graphic style will appeal to reluctant readers and provide facts for viewers of the Odd Squad. 
Amanda Winnicki -- Menominee County Library

Monday, March 15, 2021

FOLLOW THE RECIPE: Poems About Imagination, Celebration & Cake by Marilyn Singer.  Illus. by Marjorie Freeman. New York:  Dial Books for Young Readers, 2020. 40p.  ISBN 978-0735227903 hc. $16.99    Gr. 3-6    811.54 JUV

Just like following recipes to make food, readers will enjoy recipes for practicing patience and courage, science and social studies, reading and writing, enjoying the seasons, and celebrating life.  This collection of various forms of poetry will inspire readers to write their own.  Freeman's illustrations add movement and flow to the joyous images.  The overall message is to savor life.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, March 8, 2021

I TALK LIKE A RIVER by Jordan Scott. Illus by Sydney Smith.  New York: Holiday House, 2020. 40p. ISBN 978-082344559-2 hc. $18.99     Gr. K-3    E PIC

A young boy with a stutter has a bad day at school and uses nature terms to describe how his mouth betrays him when he tries to talk.  His dad picks him up from school and takes him to the river where they watch movement of the water and compare it to speech patterns.  The author takes words from nature and turns them into feelings.  Sydney Smith uses watercolor, ink, and gouache to personalize this story with amazing artwork.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, March 1, 2021

DEAR JUSTYCE by Nic Stone.  New York: Random House Children's Books, 2020.  266p.  ISBN 978-198482966-5 hc. $18.99     Gr. 8-12     YA FIC

Written as an epistolary novel, this story is framed around a series of letters written from Quan to Justyce.  The letters from Quan question why he is in the state detention center charged with murder, while Justyce is enrolled in an Ivy League college?  Both boys grew up in the same neighborhood.  They were childhood friends, so what happened?  Quan letters reflect on childhood memories of the places he used to go with Justyce and some of the friends they had in common.  In between the letters are accounts of Quan’s life that reveal how his family circumstances made it easy to make bad choices, with the good intentions of protecting his younger siblings.  This isn’t quite a sequel to DEAR MARTIN (2017), which is Justyce McAllister’s story, but it expands the realm of Vernell LaQuan Banks, Jr. for readers who remember him.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, February 22, 2021

CLAP WHEN YOU LAND by Elizabeth Acevedo.  New York:  HarperTeen, 2020. 417p.  ISBN 978-006288276-9 hc. $18.99      Grades 7-12      YA FIC

Chapter by chapter, Camino and Yahaira will tell their stories.  Camino lives in the Dominican Republic with her aunt, joined by her father in the summer months.  Yahaira lives in New York City with her mother and her father, who travels each summer.  Is it a coincidence or is their father the same man?  Both worlds collide when Papi is killed in a plane crash on his way to the Dominican Republic, releasing the secrets of his double life.  Camino and Yahaira will soon meet and work through new emotions in order to accept one another.  Their father isn’t the only one keeping secrets.  Family structure, economic advantage, sexual identity, and sexual harassment are also factors in the story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, February 15, 2021

THE BLACK FLAMINGO by Dean Atta.  New York: Balzer + Bray, 2020. 403p.  ISBN 978-006299029-7 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12   YA FIC

Told in verse with Michael’s own words, this story gives readers an idea of how hard it is for teens to fit into their own skin.  Now add the circumstances of being gay, having an absent father, and representing the ethnicities of a Jamaican father and Greek (Cyprus) mother.  His mother and younger sister love him, but don’t understand the journey he must take to find himself.  Readers tag along as Michael learns how to be open about his sexual orientation, allow others to do the same, and accept himself rather than being a person that someone else wants him to be.  Michael is on a roller coaster of emotion in this memorable first-person narrative. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, February 8, 2021

OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG: The Story of Us by Lauren Castillo. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020. 110p.  ISBN 978-1524766071-9 hc. $16.99      Gr. 2-3     JFIC

When Hedgehog loses Mutty in a windstorm, he sets out to find the treasured stuffed animal.  The journey takes him through the underground home of Mole, to the treetop home of Owl, across the river to Beaver’s dam, into the meadow where Chicken was collecting found items, and straight to the house of Annika Mae.  The trail of clues led to Mutty, Hedgehog’s best friend.  His world had expanded, and he realized how lucky the adventure has been.  My favorite line comes from Beaver when Owl tells him he has to give the group a scarf  he found (Mutty's scarf) or help them with their quest.  He says, “I don’t have to do either of those things.”  The perfect answer for an unreasonable request that can be applied to many personal interactions.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, February 1, 2021

GO WITH THE FLOW by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann.  New York:  Roaring Brook Press, 2020. 332p.  ISBN 978-125030572-5 hc. $21.99   Gr. 5-10    YA FIC

This book has been wanting to be written since the 1960's, when menstruation was taught quickly in the fifth grade, but some mothers were embarrassed to talk with their daughters about this natural event that has been happening since the beginning of time.  Besides being a "friendship story" about four schoolmates, the book is a graphic novel in order to make it readable and inviting for anyone.  It's also drawn / written in shades of red to honor the monthly flow of blood that women experience during the fertile years of their lives.  It's genius!  As a reader, my heart melted to see the three older girls shelter and protect the younger one who was getting her first period.  They turned a traumatic event into a new friendship.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, January 25, 2021

MONSTER AND BOY by Hannah Barnaby. Illus. by Anoosha Syed.  New York: First Second Books, 2020. 132p.  ISBN 978-125021783-7 hc. $13.99   Gr. 1-3   JFIC

What happens when a monster is marginalized because parents tell their children that monsters are not real?  From the monster's point of view, he surprised himself by swallowing the boy who was going to scream for his parents.  He finally burped up the boy, who was a fraction of his original size and needed looking after.  Thus began the adventure of a monster and a boy, trying all kinds of ideas to make the boy large again.  They have escapades throughout the house and run-in with the little sister, before falling asleep and affirming that monsters are real after all.  Syed sprinkles imaginative, half-page illustrations throughout this short chapter book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, January 18, 2021

I AM EVERY GOOD THING by Derrick Barnes, Illus. by Gordon C. James. New York:
Nancy Paulsen Books, 
2020. 32p. ISBN 978-0525518778 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Barnes is a master of creative adjectives, similes, and metaphors that can be used to describe 
a person.  How many ways can you describe yourself?  Readers can answer this question by 
thinking about all the interests they have and their aspirations for the future.  Barnes lyrically 
describes his character in sports terms, musical terms, and genealogical terms for starters.  
The verse is accompanied by striking oil paintings of people in action, doing all the things
mentioned in the book.  Both the author and illustrator have won several awards for their 
outstanding work in children's literature.  It's outstanding!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, January 11, 2021

JONAS HANWAY'S SCURRILOUS, SCANDALOUS, SHOCKINGLY SENSATIONAL UMBRELLA by Josh Crute.  Illus by Eileen Ryan Ewen.  Salem, MA:  Page Street Publishing, 2020. 42p. ISBN 978-1624148859 hc. $18.99     Gr. 1-3     J 609.2

Learn the history of the umbrella through the personal story of its English promoter, Jonas Hanway.  In 1750, covered coaches were used by the English gentry to keep dry when it rained, while poor people used umbrellas, because they could afford little more.  Jonas was tired of getting wet in the rainy climate and embarked on extensive travel, discovering that people all over the world used umbrellas to shield themselves from rain and bright sun.  He boldly began a trend of taking the umbrella with him around London, and actually using it, even though the act was below his social status. A Brief History of Umbrellas follows a paragraph about Jonas Hanway.  The alliterative text rolls off the reader’s tongue, and the rhyming vocabulary is charming.  The text is witty and sparse to make room for the glorious ink and watercolor illustrations that transport readers back in time to merry old England.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, January 4, 2021

NOTHING IN COMMON by Kate Hoefler. Illus by Corinna Luyken.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020.  34p.  ISBN# 9780544774780  hc. $17.99  PreS - Gr. 2  E PIC

Review:  Story of two neighbors who don’t have anything in common on the surface.  But they join forces to search for a missing dog (who is amazing!) Illustrations are city oriented but they have a nice timeless quality.  This is a good read aloud book both for the story and for the values.  It shows that even people that seem very different on the surface can find that they often have something in common.
Amanda Winnicki Menominee County Library