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