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