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