Tuesday, June 14, 2022

ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST: The Why Files - All About Plants! by Andrea Beaty and Dr. Theanne Griffith.  New York: Amulet Books, 2022. 76p.  ISBN: 978-1419761515 hb. $12.99    Gr. 1-3    E Reader

The look of this book is similar to other Ada Twist stories by Beaty, but is actually adapted from the Netflix series.  It's full of photos and graphics to supplement the information text.  Although it lacks a table of contents, topic sections are noted by the "The Why Files Facts" heading.  Ada guides readers through the parts of a plant, how to care for these botanical wonders, and why plants are important to people.  There are a couple of science experiments at the back of the book for a hands-on approach to learning about plants.  Beaty's degree in biology combines well with Griffith's interest in STEM-themed stories to make a new series for young readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855   

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

STAR FISHING by Sang-Keun Kim.  New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2022.  32p.  ISBN 978-141975100-4 hc. $18.99     PreS-K      E PIC

When it's hard to fall asleep, look to the night sky and imagine an adventure that provides a star as bait to fish readers out of their backyards, landing them on the moon.  Rabbit lives there and uses his star to fish for more friends, a fox, polar bears, and a crab.  The new friends play among the stars and build some constellations to remember each other by.  As the new friends fall asleep one by one, Rabbit sends them back to their homes and settles down to sleep himself.  Originally published in South Korea, this book has been translated for English speakers.  Kim creates an amazing tale of friendship combined with a bedtime story for young children.  The illustrations are eye-catching with cerulean blue backgrounds contrasted with luminous yellow stars.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

DAYS LIKE THIS by Oriane Smith. Illus by Alice Gravier.  Varennes, Quebec, Canada: Milky Way Picture Books, 2022.  40p.  ISBN: 978-199025209-9 hc. $18.99     PreS- Gr. 3      E PIC

Smith phrases a beautiful nature poem to fit each line on a page of its own.  The illustrator steps in with large portraits framed by the pages to give opposing perspectives from a human point of view and a squirrel's point of view, often from high in the treetop.  The poem gently takes readers through days and seasons in a woodsy backyard that has peaceful moments, but also shows what can happen when a storm passes through the area.  This book would be a great read-aloud, leading to questions and discussion on a personal or classroom level.  The cover art is eye-popping.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

ME, MOTH by Amber McBride. New York: Feiwel & Friends, 2021.  256p.  ISBN 9781250780379 hc. $14.99    Gr. 6-12     JUV FIC

Readers will find themselves immersed in this "book in verse" that uses metaphors and similes so effectively, the phrases create visuals as they are read.  Moth is a loner of sorts, living with her aunt and keeping to herself as she grives her family who was killed in a car crash.  Everything changes when she meets Sani on the bus ride home from school.  Sani is half Navajo and has a spirituality that attracts Moth from the start.  He also adheres to a schedule of prescription pills that give him focus and grounds him in reality.  When Sani decides to drive cross country to visit his father in New Mexico, Moth takes the opportunity to travel with him.  On the reservation, Sani and Moth share their visions and try to figure out why they feel they have met before.  Readers will do a double take when Sani's father provides the answers they seek. It's easy to see why MOTH was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Awad for Young People's Literature.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

IF YOU MISS ME by Jocelyn Li Langrand.  New York:  Orchard Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-133868069-0 hb. $18.99      Gr. K-3      JUV

Charlie and her grandma both loved to dance.  Charlie took dance lessons because it was her passion, and Grandma watched from the sidelines, full of encouragement for the young dancer.  They spent summers together, but Charlie had to return to home each year for school.  They hated separating, so Grandma always said, "If you miss me, look at the moon. I will do the same."  When Grandma passed away, Charlie was full of sadness, even with the prospect of a big performance around the corner.  Lucky for her, the moon was visible from the performance hall window, reminding Charlie that her grandma was always with her.  This book provides a gentle way for children to deal with grief from the loss of a family member or friend.  Langrand enriches her story with expressive illustrations created digitally.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

LITTLE PEA'S DRAWING SCHOOL by Davide Cali. Illus. by Sebastien Mourrain.   Varennes, Quebec, Canada: Milky Way Picture Books, 2022.  32p.  ISBN 978-199025207-5 hc. $15.99    Gr. K-2     E PIC

Everyone recognized Little Pea's artistic abilities.  He drew flowers, trees, mountains, and bugs.  Since he already encouraged his friends to draw, they suggested that he open a drawing school.  His friends all signed up for classes.  Each had a talent for their own brand of art, except for Tarantula, who filled his paper with dots.  Little Pea took the group to an art museum to inspire his students to hold their own art exhibit back home.  The students did well, but guess who stole the show?  Readers could learn a new art technique, resulting in some home or classroom dot drawings.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

SLOW DOWN...IN THE PARK by Freya Hartas.  New York: Magic Cat Publishing, 2021. 12p.  ISBN 978-141976146-1 bb. $9.99     PreS-K   Board Book

Part of the series of Calming Nature Stories for Little Ones, Hartas features six parts of the natural world to read about.  She places a paragraph of basic information on the left page, while telling the same story in graphic panels on the right.  It's easy to follow and could be used to prepare young readers for graphic novels that will come their way later on.  The first page features ducks, with illustrations reminiscent of Robert McCloskey's art in MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS.  The heavy duty board book format is great for toddlers to pick up and read independently.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

CHILD OF THE FLOWER-SONG PEOPLE: Luz Jimenez, Daughter of the Nahua by Gloria Amescua. Illus by Duncan Tonatiuh.  New York: Abrams Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-141974020-6 hc. $18.99      Gr. 3-6     j897.4  or j921

This history of the Nahua people of Mexico, descendants of the Aztecs who were conquered by Spanish explorers and assimilated into Spanish culture, parallels the Native American experience in the United States.  In both countries, the displacement of native people was taking place from the late 1800's into the mid-1900s.  All of the customs and Nahuatl language that Luz Jimenez grew up with were replaced by modern job skills and the Spanish language.  Although Luz excelled at school, she didn't forget her heritage and aspired to teach the Nahua customs and stories to new generations.  With unwavering perseverance, Luz became an model for artists who wanted to depict the Nahua lifestyles in their art, and was also recognized as a source of historical folklore.  The illustrations are designed after several famous Mexican artists of the period, such as Diego Rivera, Fernado Leal, and Jose Maria Urbina.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

ONLY MY DOG KNOWS I PICK MY NOSE by Lauren Tarshis. Illus. by Lisa Bronson Mezoff.  New York: Orchard Books, 2021.  48p. ISBN 978-133868025-6 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

For someone who is an ideal child, it's good to have a dog who knows all his secrets.   Little do his parents know that when he eats every bite from his lunch plate, his dog may have been helping.  And when he goes straight to bed at night, he throw back the covers to play with his toys one more time.  The title tells readers one more thing he does when nobody is around to see.  Everyone needs a pet to be themselves with, while still being loved unconditionally... and sticking to most of the house rules.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

ONE SHEEP, TWO SHEEP by Tammi Sauer. Illus. by Troy Cummings.  New York: Abrams Appleseed, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-141974630-7 hc. $14.99     PreS-K     E PIC

Rooster always counts sheep to help him fall asleep, but on this night, the other barnyard animals are also jumping over the fence, just like the sheep.  Rooster is unhappy with their efforts and interrupts his bedtime routine to yell at the chicken, pig, and cow who took part in the sheep count.  However, they all respond with "Baaa?" and don't seem to realize they aren't sheep after all.  Rooster gives them each a lesson in their proper identity, which makes the book a great read-aloud and a chance for listeners to participate in the story.  As he rounds up the sheep for a second try at bedtime, there's another surprise in store.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

SOUL FOOD SUNDAY by Winsome Bingham. Illus. by C.G. Esperanza.  New York: Abrams Books, 2021. 40p.  ISBN 978-141974771-7 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

View a family gathering through the eyes of a child when "...everyone gathers at Granny's for soul food."  As the young narrator describes his extended family arriving in small groups, Granny drapes a chef jacket over his shoulders and proceeds to give him a cooking lesson.  He'll be making mac'n'cheese, cleaning the greens, and preparing meat for the grill, before adding his own sweet concoction for today's meal.  Both the author and illustrator learned how to cook from their grandmothers, making this beautiful book an authentic reading experience for young children.  They include a delicious mac'n'cheese recipe on the last page.  Enjoy!

Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

 HUSH, LITTLE TRUCKER by Kim Norman. Illus. by Toshiki Nakamura.  New York: Abrams Appleseed, 2021.  32p.    PreS - Gr. 1     E PIC

Young readers will learn about trucks and service vehicles to the words of the classic lullaby, "Hush, Little Baby."  When a favorite toy truck becomes buried in the snow, Mama steps in and visualizes the various vehicles they could use to rescue the toy truck.  They start out in a jeep and work their was through a forklift, a dump truck, a backhoe, and more, until they decide on the best way to get their toy truck out of the deep snow.  The illustrations are composed of wintry colors that beautifully show the sparse landscape amid falling snow.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

ALSO by E.B. Goodale. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2022. 32p. ISBN 978-035815394-8 hc. $17.99     Gr. 1-4    E PIC

The narrator begins with drawing herself standing in the blueberry bushes near her grandmother's house, which triggers childhood memories of camping nearby.  From the blueberry bushes she looks through the window at her grandmother, who is also remembering her days as a little girl in that same yard.  Those blueberry bushes also initiate her mother's memories of picking blueberries with her sister.  Even the cat has memories of being a kitten in that same place.  The idea of the book is to treasure the present while remembering the past.  This is an abstract idea aimed at a young audience, but could lead to discussion in a classroom or at home.  The illustrations are helpful at cuing readers to memories by using shades of purple to denote the past.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

THE NEW FRIEND by Charlotte Zolotow. Illus. by Benjamin Chaud. Canada: Milky Way Picture Books, 2021.  ISBN 978-1-99025201-3 hc. $17.99     PreS - Gr.3    E PIC

Readers are introduced to the main character and her best friend, "a dear friend with long brown hair."  They have a wonderful day together, hiking in the woods, reading books, and snacking on apples from the branches of a tree.  The next day, our girl is in disbelief as she spots her friend doing all their favorite activities with a new friend.  She grieves by crying all day and night, but has a dream that she moves on and also finds a new friend.  The pain of losing a friend, at any age, is verified by the author, making this story perfect for reading at home and in the classroom. Chaud's watercolor and gouache illustrations freshen up the story with vibrant, colorful full page spreads of the friends interacting with each other and nature.  The text was originally published in 1968 and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully.  It's a book that meets the test of time.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

HURRICANE SUMMER by Asha Bromfield.  New York: St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2021. 375p. ISBN 978-125-62223-5 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12     YA FIC

Tilla is visiting Jamaica, her father's homeland, for the first time in ten years.  She is longing for her father's approval and goes down all the wrong paths to find it.  Upon arrival, Tilla and Mia's father greets them and leaves them in the care of his extended family, who live in the countryside.  Nine year-old Mia has no problem connecting with the family, but Tilla is the object of jealousy by her cousin Diana, who resents her Canadian middle-class upbringing, tells lies about her and plays dangerous tricks on her.  Driven to find friendship with some of her male cousins and friends, she makes typical teen bad choices while rumors of promiscuity begin to circulate.  As Tilla unwittingly finds out the truth behind her father's behavior, as well as Diana, Aunt Herma and Aunt Adele, she puts the pieces together, taking into account the culture and poverty of her Jamaican family.  At the same time, a hurricane hits the island and causes destruction everywhere.  Tilla also feels that she's experienced a personal hurricane destroying the beliefs she grew up with, prompting her to cut off the toxic relationships she experienced over the summer.  The physical and emotional events of the summer will allow her to build a new resilience within herself.  This book begins with a Patois Word Bank to help American readers connect with the dialect used by native Jamaican speakers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

MR. FILKINS IN THE DESERT by Quentin Blake.  New York, TATE Publishing / Abrams Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-1-84976750-7 lib. $17.99      Gr. K-2      E PIC

Emphasizing the importance of water, Blake sets this story in the desert where water is scarce.  Mr. Filkins sets off through the desert on a journey to his 90th birthday party.  On the way, he avoids two terrifying creatures, the snerg and the clutterbunk, but comes face to face with the "fearsome zagobert."  However, this ominous beast was laid out flat on the ground from dehydration.  The old man shared his water, reviving the zagobert, who grabbed him and flew him the rest of the way to his destination.  The party welcomed everyone by serving lots of cake, accompanied by lots of water.  The final illustration shows Mr. Filkins and the zagobert celebrating with several glasses of this precious resource.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

OVERGROUND RAILROAD: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor. New York: Amulet Books, 2022.  254p. ISBN 978-141974949-0 hc. $22.99     Gr. 6-8   Juv 970.980

It's hard to put this book down after reading the Introduction recalling the personal experience of a black family being stopped by the police, while driving through Tennessee on vacation in the 1950's.  Racial prejudice was so prevalent in the United States that it wasn't safe for black drivers on the road.  Luckily, Victor H. Green came to the rescue with a book titled, THE NEGRO MOTORIST GREEN-BOOK that listed safe havens for blacks traveling around the country.  There were other travel guides also available, but this one was published from 1936 to 1962.  Taylor illuminates readers with photographs postcards, and pages from the original Green Books.  The stories are eye-opening, as they reveal a piece of history unknown to many.  An impressive bibliography of resources and photos close out the book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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

Strap down your emotions, as this story is based on the author's journey from Viet Nam to Hong King to the United States when she was a child in the 1980's.  Every sentence, except for the last one, repeats the pattern,  "The ____ wishes it was ____."  The illustrator makes those sentences come to life by creating the scenarios that almost wordlessly tell the tale of secretly gathering family members for a journey to safety in another country.  But there is nothing safe about the nightime trip to the seashore and the power of the waves that rocked the small, crowded boat.  Despite the sadness conveyed in the illustrations, there is beauty and hope for the future.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

WE SHALL OVERCOME by Bryan Collier.  New York: Orchard Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-133854037-56 hc. $18.99    Gr. 1-5    E PIC

Collier brings the famous words of a Civil Rights protest song to life with his signature watercolor and collage creations that cover the page from top to bottom, side to side.  He presents a timeline of landmark Civil Rights events in shades of gray behind the present day figures enjoying the freedoms their predecessors fought for.  Readers will recognize the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, Rosa Parks sitting down on a bus, and the National Guard protecting students at the newly integrated Little Rock Central High School, all taking place in the 1950's and 1960's. This book is packed with information, emotion, and pure beauty.  Collier has received multiple Coretta Scott King awards for illustration and four Caldecott Honors for MARTIN'S BIG WORDS by Doreen Rapapport (2001), ROSA by Nikki Giovanni (2005), DAVE THE POTTER by Dave Carrick Hill (2010), and TROMBONE SHORTY by Troy Andrews (2015).
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

UNSPEAKABLE: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Floyd Cooper.  Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 2021. 32p. ISBN 978-154158120-3 hc. $17.99   Gr. 2-5   J 976.686

Even though this remarkable tale begins with, "once upon a time," it is a true story buried in time.  The community of Greenwood, on the edge of Tulsa, Oklahoma was divided by train tracks into a white section and a black district.  The black community had a thriving economy from long-term oil investments and was nicknamed the "Negro Wall Street of America," providing good jobs for families and good education for their children.  A single incident between a black worker and a white elevator operator brought both communities to blows on May 31, 1921.  Enraged white citizens raided and burned businesses and homes, killing blacks along the way.  The National Guard arrived the following day and moved homeless residents into camps until they could rebuild or move on.  This incident was swept under the rug for 75 years before it was investigated or made known to the American public.  Most readers are just learning of it recently, as the number of publications on the subject has swelled to commemorate its 100th anniversary.  The Author's Note and Illustrator's Note provide further insight into this tragedy. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

OH MY GODS! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick. Illus by Juliana Moon. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. 202p.  ISBN 978-035829951-6 hc. $24.99     Gr. 4-8     J Graphic

Karen is a typical teen from New Jersey who likes to play video games with friends.  When her mom gets a new job that requires her to be out of town for some months, Karen is shipped off to live with her father on Mt. Olympus in Greece.  As she gets to know her dad and enrolls in school there, Karen finally catches on that she's in the company of mythological gods and goddesses.  Her father reveals that she is a demigod and her powers will emerge, but doesn't elaborate on what they might be.  Meanwhile, Karen and her new friends investigate the mystery of a classmate turned to stone in the library.  They find more stone bodies in the barn belonging to Medusa and her sisters, all homeschooled in order to isolate them from the public, and try to find a way to neutralize Medusa's gaze.  As things normalize around Mt. Olympus, readers are visually guided down dark corridors in the school building which lead to a locked door - and the next adventure in the series.  Don't miss Karen's handwritten notes at the back of the book that keep track of the gods and their powers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

TEN BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Molly Beth Griffin. Illus. by Maribel Lechuga.  Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2021. 32p. ISBN 978-1580899369 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC

Readers will have to guess why Lily and her Gram are traveling an entire night and day to get to the farmhouse in Iowa.  Lily is obviously sad to be moving there, but Gram tells her to pass the time by looking for ten beautiful things along the way.  Together they find the sunrise, a river, a flock of birds, clouds, and a thunderstorm, to name a few.  By the time they reach Gram's farmhouse, all the beauty of nature seemed to fill up the hollow places that Lily felt at the beginning of the trip.  Her attitude changed during the journey, allowing her to make a new life with Gram.  Full-page spreads emphasize the beauty of nature, no matter where you live.  What an inspiration for young readers who may have already started a new life in a new location.  Discussion possibilities are endless.Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

FORTY WINKS: A Bedtime Adventure by Kelly DiPucchio. Illus. by Lita Judge.  New York: Abrams Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBn978-141974552-2 hc. $17.99     PreS - K     E PIC

Mr. and Mrs. Wink and their 38 children give readers an up-close look at their industrial sized bedtime routine.  With everyone's help, the young mice are bathed, clothed, and read to before being tucked into bed.  The rhyming text is clever and includes a rhythmic role call of all the mice children.  It's a hilarious scene with 38 moving parts!  The watercolor and pencil illustrations build a world of fantasy that lets readers imagine a mouse house with enough beds for everyone.  Pure fun!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

 ALLERGIC by Hegan Wagner Lloyd.  Art by Michelle Mee Nutter.  New York: Scholastic Graphix, 2021.  237p.  ISBN 978-133856891-2 hc. $24.99      Gr. 4-6     JUV Graphic

How would you feel if your body broke out in a rash whenever you were around animals, or ate eggs, or picked flowers or washed with certain soaps?  After a visit to the pet store to adopt a puppy, Maggie found out that she was allergic to all animals with fur or feathers.  This bad news was compounded by moving to a new school and the addition of a new baby in the family.  Maggie was not happy.  Things turned around for her when Claire moved in next door and a new friendship blossomed.  Their relationship endured a family of mice and Claire's new dog, but Maggie pulled through with a new understanding of her pesky brothers and open lines of communication with her parents.  Anyone who has ever been 10 years old will relate to this timely story.  The graphic novel format by Nutter is clear and easy to follow.Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI