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