Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Night Library by David Zeltser

As someone whose job it is to teach children to read, any book that celebrates books or libraries holds a special place in my heart. The Night Library is such a book.

On the night before his eighth birthday, the boy in this story is given a book by his parents. This makes him unhappy since he would rather have gotten toys or movies. During the night, a lion appears outside of his window and whisks him away on a journey to the New York Public Library. At the library, the books take on a life of their own, magically reminding the boy of books his grandfather read to him when he was younger. The boy's memories of reading with his grandfather provide him with a renewed appreciation for books.

This story is magical and imaginative as the lion statues outside the entrance to the New York Public Library come to life within the book. In the Author's Note at the end, the author provides information about the two lion statues named Patience and Fortitude. The inspiration for the book came from the author's visits to the library and his childhood perception that the lions were magical. Both those who have visited the library and seen the lion statues and those who haven't will find the lions within this book enchanting.

In the classroom, this book will spark discussions about reading and the joy of books. Students may also wonder and want to discuss whether the boy actually went on a journey to the library or he simply had a dream. Naturally, this book is one worth sharing to spark interest in the wonders of libraries.

Thanks to the publisher, Random House, for providing my book review group, 
#BookExcursion, with a review copy of this book. 
The book publishes in April.

Monday, February 25, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour

Lubna arrives on the beach with her father where she finds a pebble. The pebble provides Lubna comfort in their new home, a city of tents. She tells stories of her previous life to her pebble and even keeps it warm in the winter months. One day a boy, Amir, appears and she befriends him. When it is time for Lubna to leave, she knows just what to do to provide Amir with some comfort. Lubna and Amir's circumstances are heart-breaking, but their friendship is beautiful. This book ends on a hopeful note and shows the power of a small act of kindness. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.  

Misunderstood Shark: Friends Don't Eat Friends by Ame Dyckman

Bob is upset that Shark ate him, but Shark insists that it was all a misunderstanding. Interesting facts about sharks are revealed as the two work through their disagreement. As in the first Misunderstood Shark book, there are amusing illustrations, speech bubbles that add interest, and lots of humor. Fans of the first book were eager for this one and are enjoying it a lot.  

Not Your Nest! by Gideon Sterer

A little bird has built a nest, but he discovers that another bird has claimed it. He builds nest after nest, but various animals from the savanna, some quite large, make the nests their home. This continues until bird finds a way to get all the animals out of the tree. Bird not only solves his problem, but helps the animals discover that they can share. This story is told in dialogue and is quite humorous. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for a review copy of the book.

Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron

Anthoni has moved around a lot helping her mother sell cosmetics. She is excited to finally visit The Showboat, the lakeside resort she has heard about from her mother who spent time there when she was younger. When Anthoni and her mother arrive, the resort is run-down and deserted and not anywhere close to being as magical as it sounded. Anthoni, who believes in positivity, is determined to make a true blue friend although it turns out to be a challenge. This is a sweet story that affirms the meaning of true friendship. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reader's copy of the book at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. The book publishes in March.

Monday, February 18, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together by Andrea Tsurumi 

The sea creatures all do their thing, but crab does something rather unusual. Crab bakes cakes. When a load of trash is dumped into the ocean, Crab's cakes bring everyone together. This is a book that highlights community and shows that together we can make a difference. The fantastic illustrations show an interesting underwater world and the various emotions of the sea creatures. I was lucky to receive a copy of the book from the author who was giving away a few copies on Twitter. 

The Happy Book by Andy Rash

Camper and Clam are best friends who are happy being together until Camper eats all the cake. The emotions of Camper and Clam then change from happy to sad to angry to scared until they realize that there are many ways of feeling and they are all okay. The illustrations are fun with different colors representing each of the emotions. This is a humorous exploration of feelings that will be useful in the classroom to spark discussion related to social-emotional learning. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion with a review copy.

It's Not Hansel and Gretel by Josh Funk

This is another very humorous and entertaining twist on a fairy tale from Josh Funk, author of It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk. The narrator of the book tries to tell the story the proper way, but Hansel and Gretel have their own ideas about how the story is supposed to go. Both the story and the illustrations, in which some other popular literary characters make an appearance, are quite amusing.

It's Me. (Catwad #1) by Jim Benton

Catwad is a grouch. Blurmp is always happy. They are as different as can be, but they're also best friends. Written as a series of vignettes in graphic novel format, the book tells of their very humorous relationship. This is one of those books kids will love because it contains much ridiculous nonsense. I have to admit I laughed out loud a few times. 

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat #1 by Johnny Marciano & Emily Chenoweth

Klawde is an alien warlord cat, but one who is now on planet Earth because he's been banished from Lyttyrboks for the evil crimes he committed against his fellow felines. When Klawde shows up at Raj's apartment in Brooklyn, Raj is relieved to finally have a friend in his new city. Klawde schemes to return home while Raj has his own problems trying to survive the nature camp his parents have enrolled him in. Klawde may be devious and evil, but when Raj is in need he proves his loyalty to his human. This is a fast-paced, funny read that kids will find entertaining. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a copy of the book.

Monday, February 11, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Max Explains Everything: Soccer Expert by Stacy McAnulty

Max has only been playing soccer for three weeks, but he is very enthusiastic about it. As Max provides readers with his expertise about soccer, it becomes apparent that he is highly distracted on the field. Although Max's tips may not lead to a winning kick, they do show that playing the game is all about having fun. Soccer enthusiasts will enjoy this amusing story, as will those who can relate to not being the superstar on the field. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

Robot in Love by T. L. McBeth

This story is about a robot with heart. Robot has his eye on his love, but being shy and nervous he has to work up the courage to talk to her. The object of Robot's affection is not revealed to the end of the book and it will surprise readers. This would be a great read aloud for Valentine's Day or anytime readers want a sweet, silly story.  

Sweety by Andrea Zuill

Sweety, a naked mole rat, has been called a square peg and has difficulty fitting in. When he gets wise advice from his aunt, Sweety learns an important lesson: be yourself and you will find your people. A delightful and amusing book. Thanks to the publisher, Random House, for providing my book review group with a review copy.

Hello, Crabby!: An Acorn Book (A Crabby Book #1) by Jonathan Fenske

Crabby is a quite crabby crab. Plankton wants to change that. There is lots to interest and amuse early readers. This short book is broken up into chapters, pages are divided into panels, and the story is mostly told through dialogue. This is a book I'll definitely be sharing with my youngest readers who are beginning to show interest in reading graphic novels. I bought one of these books and, after reading it, ordered another because I think this will be a much-loved book.

Dog Diaries: A Middle School Story by James Patterson with Steven Butler

This book is told from the perspective of Junior, a dog who has just been adopted by the "pet human" he refers to as Ruff. After an incident at the dog park, Junior is sent to obedience school where he either learns to behave or gets returned to the shelter. There is a lot that will appeal to kids in this book - there's humor, it's fast-paced, and there are many illustrations throughout that add interest and make it a quick read. 

Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd

Mallie lives with her family in a gloomy mining town. She is determined to keep her younger brother from having to go to work in the Down Below. She sneaks her way into a challenge that is dangerous, but it gives her the chance to earn the money her family desperately needs. If Mallie is brave enough she can help her family and all of Coal Top. This book has both adventure and magic. I received an advanced reader's copy of the book from the publisher. It publishes in March.

Monday, February 4, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Perfect by Max Amato

A perfectionist eraser is very displeased when a pencil comes along making squiggles, smudges, and drawings on a perfectly clean page. As the pencil draws the eraser tries to erase. The eraser gets more and more frustrated with the drawings of the mischievous pencil until he realizes that his eraser marks can be pretty fun. This is a book that shows its possible to get along in spite of differences and one about embracing imperfection. It's both playful and clever. 

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

When caterpillar wonders what the others are doing, he learns that he can become a chrysalis and transform into a butterfly. But, for a caterpillar who is extremely impatient two weeks seems like it will take forever. Caterpillar's antics, as he waits to become a butterfly, are amusing. This book not only shows that patience pays off, but gives an introduction to metamorphosis. This book publishes next month, but is currently available through Scholastic Book Clubs.

Everybody is Somebody (Here's Hank) by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

In the last book in the Here's Hank series, an author is visiting Hank's school, but he hasn't read her book. In spite of his difficulties reading, Hank connects with the author who celebrates his imagination. This book has a sweet message about believing in oneself. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for a review copy of the book.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (A Sal and Gabi Novel, Book 1) by Carlos Hernandez

Sal Vidón is adjusting to his new life in Miami where he is attending Culeco Academy of the Arts. During his first few days of school, Sal deals with a bully in a rather unique way. He opens a portal to another universe and a dead chicken appears in the boy's locker. Partly because of student council president and journalist for the school paper, Gabi Real, all of his classmates think he is a brujo, a witch. Sal is struggling at home, as well, because his parents and American stepmom aren't too pleased that he can also bring his deceased mother over from another universe. Sal must manage his unexplainable powers before he destroys the universe, but they are much needed when Gabi's brother's life is in danger. The characters in this book are unique and diverse and there is lots of humor. The book is a lot of fun, but it's also one with heart. Fans of science fiction, especially, will enjoy this one. I read an advance reader's copy of the book. It publishes in March.

To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Although Bett lives in California and Avery lives in New York, their dads have met and are in a relationship with one another. They want the girls to attend a summer camp so they can meet and become friends. Neither Bett or Avery have any interest in their families merging together and when they are forced to go to camp they vow not to even talk with one another. The book is written in an epistolary format as Bett and Avery correspond through emails and letters. Bett and Avery are both endearing characters, who in spite of themselves develop a sweet bond and grow as they learn what it means to be family. This is a light-hearted read with humor. Thanks to the publisher, Dial Books for Young Readers, for proving my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom by Temre Beltz

This middle grade novel is a story of magic and unlikely friendship. Birdie Bloom, an orphan, is doomed to an unhappy, tragical ending. One day the Winds of Wanderly connect her to a wicked witch, Agnes Prunella Crunch. Birdie is determined to make a friend and in the process she shows that with bravery it's possible to change one's destiny. Thanks to the author and publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in March.