Thursday, April 10, 2014

Picture Book of Daniel Boone

Adler, David A. & Adler, Michael S.  Picture Book of Daniel Boone.  New York : Holiday House, 2013.

This book is about the life of Daniel Boone and how he progressed through his life from a young boy to a historical hero.  Daniel Boone would pioneer many to establish a wilderness trail and Daniel would eventually become political for his causes.  The book is short and gives little detail but does highlight the most important details in Daniel Boone's and his family's life.  Among them, historical events and conflicts of research.

The illustrations are amazing with great detail and life-like images.  The wild turkey looks almost like it is really standing there in front of the reader.  The images seem to have a realistic quality and not cartoon effects.  I would recommend this book.  I believe there is good historical information touched on.  The iamges really get the viewer the realistic point of view.  Kids aged 7 to 10 would be able to grasp this text.

SRB, BGSU student

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Beatles Were Fab (and they were funny)

Publisher: Boston : Harcourt Children's Books

This story is a timeline of different events during "Beatlemania". I love the Beatles and their music, but this book really taught me some of the things John, Paul, George and Ringo went through during this time.  This book talks about the good times and the bad times they went through.

The author's writing style is exceptional.  It's very informative but fun and enjoyable to read.  I loved the facts about their band name, song styles, and how the Beatles interacted with each other.  It was so interesting to read about the relationship between the four men and how they handled the fame.

I absolutely loved the illustrations.  Some of the pictures are pretty trippy which fits perfectly for this time era. The pictures are a great demonstration of the main points the book focuses on.  I really enjoyed looking at the pictures and the detail that is provided.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone young or old.  I can see myself reading this book to my future children so that they know about this great era of music.  I can also see myself reading this book to a classroom of high school seniors.  It's a great book with very cool information.

Reviewer: AZ

Willow Finds A Way

Button, Lana, and Tania Howells. Willow Finds a Way. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2013.

Willow's classmate, Krisabella, is throwing a fantastic birthday party that everyone wants to come to.  She makes the class eat lunch with her, wear pink, and play the games she chooses at recess or they can't go to her party.

The writing style is simple for younger students.  The book is easy to read.  It showed emotions and peer pressure for young children, but the overall situation would be better for teens.

The illustrations are very simple, all on white pages. The characters are drawn small but they match the text very well.

I think the birthday party scenario fits teens, not elementary students.  It reminds me of the competition for the best sweet 16 birthday party.  Also the actions Kristabella controls are one right after another - it doesn't build well. Willow leads the class to crossing their own names off the list which show s leadership and that a peer can't control you.  But, Kristabella's apology is subtle.  Overall the lesson could have been more powerful.

This book would appeal to ages 4-8

Reviewer: CH

Gone Fishing A Novel in Verse

Wissinger, Tamera W, and Matthew Cordell. Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse. , 2013. 

Imprint: Houghton Mifflin

This story was about a young boy named Sam who cannot wait to go on a fishing trip with his dad until his younger sister gets invited to go along.  To make matters worse, his little sister, Lucy was catching fish, after fish, after fish.  Sam eventually catches a large catfish and Lucy calls him a hero.  Sam then feels bad for not wanting Lucy to come along and ends up very thankful for his family.

I loved the writing style in this book.  Each page is a poem from the perspective of Sam, Lucy, or their dad. Each poem follows the story line, but each poem is set up differently.  This book would be a great tool to use in the classroom to introduce or to review poetry.

The illustrations were great.  They were fun to look at but not distracting.  There was a picture for each poem which made this book fun and easy to read.  I loved the illustration of Lucy, especially! She definitely looks like the little sister I'd picture in my head.

Yes, I loved this book so much! I will read this to my future kids someday for sure.  I loved the little Fishing Prayer Poem.  It was so cute and made the book just perfect!  I really liked that Lucy was so encouraging for her older brother and Sam was humbled by the fishing trip.  It teaches kids valuable lessons as well as poetry.

This book would appeal to ages 4 and older

Reviewer: AZ

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lenny Cyrus, School Virus

Lenny Cyrus, School Virus
By Joe Schreiber, illustrated by Matt Smith
Houghton Mifflin:  New York, 2013, 288 Pages, Ages 10-14

Lenny is a genius. And he has a crush on Zooey. Desperate to know how she feels about him and willing to try and change her mind from the inside, he discovers a method to shrink himself so that he can enter her digestive tract (via a capsule she unknowingly swallows). His plan:  get to her brain, see what she thinks about, and, if necessary, make her love him. All this happens on the day that Zooey’s new play, a Christmas themed zombie tale, is set to premier.

Told in first person from three perspectives (Lenny, Zooey, and Lenny’s best friend and co-conspirator, Harlan), the book charts the discovery of the shrinking process, Lenny’s experiences in Zooey’s body, and Zooey’s reaction to the foreign body as she frantically prepares for the play premier. The author does a good job of making the events of the day laugh-out-loud funny.

The illustrations for the book are much what one would expect for a chapter book aimed at grades 4-8. The kid characters appear to be white middle-class children, rendered in caricature. Bullies are appropriately stocky and big headed (also white middle-class children). Images of viruses, components of Zooey immune system, bacteria and hormones with faces and personalities help the reader accept the human-like interactions that Lenny has with them.

This book is recommended for readers interested in the human body and how it deals with disease. Oh, and for readers who enjoy off beat adventure stories. It was disappointing how little the Christmas horror play figured into the story, since it had great potential for hilarity.

Review by Jennifer Harvey, Head Librarian, Curriculum Resource Center, Jerome Library, BGSU

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Wish I Had...

Zobli, Giovanna. I Wish I Had....  2013, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

In this beautifully illustrated and written picture book, a narrator tells the readers of their desire to have attributes specific to different animals.  By taking this approach to looking at some of the qualities animals possess, the author manages to teach its reader about several different animals, as well as their habitats and practices.  For instance, Zoboli writes, "I wish I had the tail of a lemur to swing through the maze of branches..." (p.9) and "I wish I had the eyes of a blackbird to see every blade of grass growing in the meadow..." (p. 1).

Zoboli devotes two pages to each of the thirteen animals she highlights.  She wrote in a pattern that introduced two animals within each sentence in the form of, "I wish I had the (attribute) of a(n) (animal)...and the (second attribute) of a(n) (second animal).  Her writing style is very descriptive and contains a lot of imagery that only adds to the bold illustrations.  For example, Zoboli writes, "I wish I had the night-black coat of a panther as it slips through the darkness...and the far-reaching gaze of an owl, light as a ghost," (pps. 19-21).  Some of the descriptive phrases are rather dense and poetic, but this could serve as an introduction to symbolic writing styles for more advanced readers.

The illustrations created by Mulazzani are incredibly intricate and bold.  Relying on a combination of paint and pen, she creates vibrant illustrations with texture and depth.  Possibly the most effective illustration in developing the story is of the whale "singing as it crosses the wide ocean," (pps. 15-16).  The majority of the background is varying and textured shades of blue, with a row of houses and trees on the horizon in order to establish a scale upon which the reader may compare the size of the whale that is covering the majority of the page.  The large whale is covered in intricate and attention-grabbing pen drawings of various animals and plants.

To the reader, it may appear as if this book meets its artistic goals more than its educational goals; while there are some specific details relating to each animal, the dense and poetic writing style limits some of the clarity of the book.  This book was originally published in Italian and therefore the translation process may have robbed this book of some of its straightforward nature.  There is no attempt to define the narrator, which does not allow students the ability to connect to a character.  There is also no conflict, climax, or resolution within this story to provide its reader with an engaging story line.  Lastly, there is a giraffe featured on the front cover and "I wish I had the towering neck of a giraffe to reach up into the clouds" on the back cover, but the giraffe does not appear with the book, which is a bit misleading.  However, the illustrations and poetic writing style create a beautiful work of art that provides its readers with engaging artwork and an introduction to descriptive language, symbolism, and metaphors.

Recommended for ages 2-9

Katherine Franklin, BGSU student

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Let's Visit Venice!

Manzione, Lisa.  Bella & Harry: Let's Visit Venice. 2011. Bella and Harry, LLC.

The book is about two chihuahuas that explore Venice, Italy.  They visit historical landmarks, experience different customs, and live the culture.  The author is informative, interactive, and enthusiastic and the illustrations are accurate, interesting, and fun to look at.

I love the Bella & Harry series!  I would recommend using this in a first or second grade classroom.  The information is subtly integrated into the story and learning is fun through Bella and Harry's adventure in Italy! It's a good introduction to Italian language and teaches geographical and historical contexts.


Me Too!

Gorbachev, Valeri. Me Too! New York: Holiday House, 2013.

This story is about two characters named Bear and Chipmunk. Bear tells Chipmunk what he is doing, and Chipmunk always responds with a "Me too!" 

The author is simple and easy to understand. The language used is good for preschoolers.

The illustrations are cute and descriptive. They are good for pointing out what activity or objects surround Bear and Chipmunk.

I would recommend this book for preschool teachers to use. It contains only two pronouns used very consistently throughout the book, "me" and "you," setting a good basis for learning about pronouns. The theme is winter! Age ranges to which this book would appeal: 7 to 12. 

Reviewer: EmKAsh

Monday, December 16, 2013

Forest has a Song

VanDerwater, Amy L, and Robbin Gourley. Forest Has a Song: Poems. Boston: Clarion Books, 2013.

This story is composed of poems about nature, specifically in the forest. The writing style has a lot of figurative language such as alliteration, similes, metaphors, and repetition. An example of repetition is
I found one.
It's plump."
There is transitions in punctuation as well as exploring emotions in context. The illustrations are colorful and painted with watercolors. The scenes are all nicely and cohesively set in nature.

I loved the poems in this book! They did a great job at capturing parts of nature. Children would enjoy hearing a story in a different way - poems! This book would fit nicely with Language Arts lessons and help jump start students' imaginations for their own poems. Children will relate to how nature is described in the poems and gain a new perspective. 

Reviewer: EmKAsh

How Do Humans Depend on Earth

Lundgren, Julie K. How Do Humans Depend on Earth? Vero Beach, Fla: Rourke Educational Media, 2013.

The nonfiction story tells of how humans interact with the Earth by use of its resources.  The book highlights how resources are provided, used, and explains threats to overusing resources.

The writing style is very informative.  The author includes specific examples on how humans depend on Earth.  She tries to make complex processes easy to understand for the child reader.  The illustrations mainly consist of real-life photographs that depict the examples given.  Diagrams of certain processes are also included, for example, the greenhouse effect.

Although the book is very informative, it often uses vocabulary that target audience may not be able to understand. Luckily there is a glossary in the back, but it still could be slightly difficult for a child to read. This being said, I would recommend this book to other children, particularly 5th graders.  The content matches up with this grade levels science standards.  I feel this book would be great if read by the teacher, to the class as an engagement on the topic.

Reviewer: Zach Cowell

The Further Adventures of Jack Lime

Leck, James. The Further Adventures of Jack Lime. , 2013.

At his high school, Jack Lime becomes involved by solving three different mysteries; when he looks into mysteries of the football team, art show, and comic club.  His grandmother and principal believe he is spending too much time with his cases.

Leck's writing is unique because he does not write any chapters.  In the novel, there are three sections - one for each mystery that Jack Lime investigates. Also within each section, Jack Lime narrates in the genre of a journal.

This book was interesting because Jack Lime finds a place at his school by helping the sports team, art students, and comic group.  He works with the members of student council too.  Students who enjoy mysteries will find this book intriguing. This book would appeal to 13-17 year olds.

Reviewer: S.P.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Albert Einstein: Brilliant Scientist

Tourville, Amanda Doering. Albert Einstein: Brilliant Scientist. 2013, ABDO: Magic Wagon.

This book describes Albert Einstein's life.  The author's purpose is to inform readers of Einstein's life, accomplishments, and facts about him through a narrative.  The author's writing style is informational.  She uses a descriptive approach to relay Einstein's life to readers.  The illustrations capture Einstein's life in a watercolor medium.  They depict Einstein and the points the author mentions.

This book is great to introduce Einstein to children in grades 2-4.  Physics, science, and math topics are addressed.  I think children will enjoy this book because there are also fun facts to accompany the information.  Students in need of doing a biography could easily extract useful information from this book.  I enjoyed this read and believe it would be greatly appreciated and liked in a classroom library or a school library.


Danny, Who Fell in a Hole

Fagan, Cary. Danny, Who Fell in a Hole. 2013, House of Anansi.

This story is about a boy named Danny who runs away from home because his parents are splitting up to pursue careers.  Danny falls into a hole at a construction site, meets his best animal friend, mole, and is saved at the end of the book.

Cary Fagan writes in a way that engages the readers.  The style provides real life situations and fictional animal talkers that keep the readers interested and wanting to find out more.  It is very humorous, interesting, and moving.

The illustrations are appropriate for readers ages 12 to 15 to understand what the author is "drawing" with the writing.  The illustrations also confirm what the author meant by the writing.

I enjoyed reading this book!  I would recommend this book to other kids who enjoy fictional, interesting stories.  This was a fun book to read in my free time and I would love to pass it on.

J.W., BGSU student

Friday, December 13, 2013

Nothing But Blue

Jahn-Clough, Lisa. Nothing but Blue. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

This book was about a girl who wakes up one day on the side of the road, alone. The only thing she can remember are the words "All dead. No one survived." The girl, Blue, ignores these thoughts are starts walking towards what she hopes in home.

The author has a fair writing style. The are chapters, but they are not numbered. Instead the chapters alternated between past and present events. The vocabulary is at a good level and would probably introduce some new words to this age group.

This book had no illustrations.

I would recommend this book to others because it has an interesting plot line which differs from other from other books I have read. I think this book is best suited for young adults because it mentions he use of drugs and sex. This book is definitely more suitable for girls than boys. Overall, I thought it was an interesting and enjoyable read.  Age ranges to which this book would appeal: 15 to 19.

Reviewer: MLW


Cabot, Meg. Awaken, 2013. Point.

17- year- old Pierce is sent to the underworld with her boyfriend , John, after her possessed grandma killed her.  While in the underworld, she and John are in charge of sorting souls, but a storm comes due to an imbalance in life/death.  They work together through many challenges trying to get things back in place before death takes over.  In the process, John loses his life and Pierce searches for a way to bring him back, while also trying to find the balance between life and death.

Cabot's writing style is very thorough throughout the book.  She tells, in detail, Pierce's thought process and the descriptions of the scenery around her.  Although the book sounds very dark in my explanation, it doesn't seem like it at all.

I think this book is very good.  It has some suspenseful moments that kept me on the edge of my seat and I found myself wanting to just read more even when I knew I didn't have the time.  I don't know how I feel about this being a teenage book, but I guess I have seen worse.  Some of the descriptions were a little too much at times because I found myself having to go back and remember what was going on between the characters which is a problem I have never had before.  Overall, I would recommend this book.

Melissa Pullano, BGSU student

The Lightning Dreamer : Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist

Engle, Margarita. The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist. Houghton Mifflen Harcart, 2013. 

In this story Tula loves words, writing, and everything about it. However, Tula is rowing up in Cuba where it is taboo for women to be knowledgeable. Tula desperately hopes for freedom. The thought of freedom from an arranged marriage and slavery to all drives all her thoughts. Tula will do whatever it takes.

I find the author's writing style to be very interesting. This particular book was written in poem style but in free verse. The shapes of the poems helped the reader understand Tula's feelings. For example, when the lines only contained one word, you could feel Tula's pain, longing, and hope.

The cover is the only area of illustration. It is just a picture of a hand and a crow on top of one finger with a sky blue background. The picture is whimsical looking. I feel the simpleness of the background represents the freedom Tula desperately wants.

I think the book was very good and an easy read. The story flowed nicely, and the characters all had a voice. I would recommend this book to students. It introduces to them to forms of slavery but in a way that is expressive and not just facts. I think this book would be good for fifth to seventh graders.

Grace Mulikill, BGSU Student 

Gaby, Lost and Found

Cervantes, Angela. Gaby, Lost and Found.  2013. Scholastic Press.

Gaby is an 11 year old girl whose mother was deported from the U.S.  Her dad is forced to take care of her but is poor and doesn't do a very good job of connecting with Gaby.  Gaby's class, along with her best friend, volunteer at an animal shelter where Gaby connects with a cat that was abandoned and left to die.  The owners decide they want the cat back but Gaby refuses and steals the cat to keep the cruel owners from getting their cat back.

The author uses many Spanish words repetitively throughout the book, such as "gato" (for cat), "princesa" (princess), chica (girl), etc.  They are basic Spanish words so young children could easily pick up on their meanings through context clues.  For example, she writes "You're out of luck, gato!"  She yelled- "my mom, master tree climber and cat rescuer, isn't back yet."  The author is very straightforward yet provides enough detail to picture things clearly.

There were no illustrations in this book.  There were, however, typed flyers that Gaby made for the animals at the shelter and although it was all writing, it still gave a good visual of what the fliers were like.

I think the book is great and very educational for kids.  It is especially good for animal lovers and girls between the ages of 9 to 13.  I would also read this book aloud to 7 and 8 year-olds.  The book has a great story line to follow, while also raising awareness about issues with immigration and deportation.  It is important to show young children the effects of deportation on a personal level for them to make a difference later in life.

Melissa Pullano, BGSU student

Puppies and Kittens

Arlon, Penelope, and Tory Gordon-Harris. Puppies and Kittens. New York: Scholastic, 2013.

The story talks about baby puppies and kittens.  It describes how they rely on their mothers when they are first born, but grow and eventually love to play.  As they age, pets can communicate their wants by the sounds they make or the way they tilt their heads.

The writing style is fun, informative and easy to comprehend.  The style is very descriptive when giving information about puppies and kittens. 

The illustrations follow the puppies and kittens from birth age to growing up.  It shows all the varieties and colors dogs and cats can have.

I would definitely recommend this book!  It's a fun and full of great pictures for younger children in elementary school to enjoy.  It would be good for a young child interested in getting a traditional house pet.  It goes through the early life stages of a pet so children would know what to expect of their own puppy or kitten.

Reviewer: JSL

May I Please?

Steinkraus, Kyla. May I Please?Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Educational Media, 2013.

This story is about teaching children about using manners.  It talks about saying please and thank you and how it makes us feel when others are kind to us.

The author uses kid friendly words and situations.  The situations used are life like and students can relate to them.

the illustrations are all real photographs of children in certain settings.  I think these images fit this particular type of story nicely as a real life connection for children.

I would recommend this book to children, especially if a child needs to use a social story for a particular situation.  I would use this for children from kindergarten to about third or forth grade.  I do not believe this would have to go along with a particular interests because it is important for all children to learn manners.

Reviewer: MNN

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jackie Robinson: American Hero

Robinson, Sharon. Jackie Robinson: American Hero. New York: Scholastic, Inc, 2013. 

Jackie Robinson: American Hero talks about Jackie's family life and how he got interested in sports in general and how it led up to baseball.  Jackie was a young black male growing up in a time where there was a lot of racial problems making it tough for him to be on a white team.

It's a unique story opening by describing how the game would be if you were there before introducing who Jackie Robinson is.  Ex. "Jackie Robinson danced off third base.  He was going to try to steal home."  throughout the book the author is able to really connect with the reader through specific game examples, his love life, and what it was like to go through that.

The pictures used in this biography were all real photos taken during his and baseball career.  Having real photographs impacts the reader more because it is a true story.

I think when books talk about how someone great succeeds during the hardest times it is really inspirational for anyone.  Jackie Robinson achieved great things and really helped break racial barriers and I think it's important for all kids/people to be educated on it.  Younger kids may not understand as much but certainly in the middle school age range.

Reviewer: Tamera Cochran

Dragon Run

Matthews, Patrick. Dragon Run. New York, N.Y: Scholastic Press, 2013.

It is about a boy who was labeled and then had to fight for his life.  He ultimately saved the people he loved by defeating the dragons and proving his label incorrect.

His style is very blunt with very little suspense or cliff hangers.  A very well told story but not enough cliff hangers.  He didn't explain some things as well as I would have liked either.

I think the front cover describes the overall scene of the book very well because it shows a lowly human standing up to a mighty dragon.

I really enjoyed reading the book, I'm not sure if he is planning on writing a sequel or not but he didn't finish the story very well.  He left  a lot of things out in the open.  I would recommend this book for anyone middle school on up because it is a good story with a great moral.

Reviewer: DWR

A Narrow Escape

Kerrin, Jessica Scott. A Narrow Escape.  2013. Kids Can Press.

This story is about a boy whose father owns a large cannery and the town is located on the coast.  The boy is put in charge of caring for his class' cactus but the breaks the cactus and comes up with an elaborate scheme to pass the trouble onto someone else while using the town's lobster festival as aid.

The story is written as the view of the main character (Norris) as well as a narrator.  The author does use some repetitive phrasing of similar words throughout the text.  As far as the difficulty of text, the author uses many vocabulary words such as accusation and dismissively.

The illustrations in this book are located on the front and back covers, within the front and back cover when opened, and a small picture at the beginning of each new chapter.  These illustrations are done in watercolor and pencil.  The pictures at the start of each chapter give the best insight into what is occurring.

I certainly would recommend this book to children.  It is well written and is just challenging enough for children from ages 8 to 10.  These ages I recommend specifically because the text has words that would be challenging for to these ages but also the different writing styles would enhance comprehension.


Where is Curious George?

Platt, Cynthia. Where is Curious George?.  2013.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The story is about finding Curious George making this book similar to Where's Waldo? and I Spy.  The author makes the book kid-friendly.  There's some rhyming and every page offers something different.  The illustrations are amazing.  3-D objects fill the page, making the pages come to life.  Since it's a look and find, the book illustrations are most important.

This book is awesome!  It takes a small childhood character and turns him into something for an older group.  I think the age range would be for 4 to 8-year olds.

MJW, BGSU student

You Make Me Smile

Marlow, Layn. You Make Me SmileHoliday House , 2013.

You Make Me Smile is a picture book that details a day which begins normally then transforms into a special tale of friendship. An unknown narrator begins the tale with a child waking up on a cold winter day. He assumes it will be boring, but is given a promise that it will soon become special. As the day progresses, the snow begins to fall until it completely covers the ground. The child goes outside to play and then creates a new friend and the narrator, a snowman. The child gives the snowman his smile (hence the title) and they share a picture together. In the end, the snowman talks of the transience of winter and not knowing what weather tomorrow will bring and if he will be able to stay. But he assures the child that if he is patient they can “share a snowy smile again someday.”

While this book was short and to the point I thought it shared a very special meaning and I could see young readers connecting to the text. I think that aside from the obvious meaning of the text it can be used to describe several similar situations (i.e. death, or a parent who is traveling). The text is accessible for young readers because there are beautifully illustrated pictures that accompany descriptive yet decodable words.

I would recommend this book to a kindergarten teacher as a read aloud story or to a learning reader to increase their confidence and passion for reading.

April McCoy, BGSU Student

Tea Time With Sophia Grace and Rosie

Brownlee, Sophia Grace et al. Tea Time With Sophia Grace and Rosie. 2013. Scholastic.

Sophia Grace and Rosie are cousins.  They want to throw the perfect tea party and decide they are each going to invite one guest.  Throughout the whole story they are planning and decorating for their tea party.

The authors of this book are the two young girls in the story.  The writing style is young and you can tell it was not written by an adult.  The quotes are written how an 8-year old would talk.  The illustrations are very bright and colorful.  They are realistic but still have a cartoon feel to them.  The pictures are all over the pages and are very inviting and intriguing.

I would recommend this book to young girls.  Sophia Grace and Rosie have been on tv so this would be a great book for any little girl who know knows them.  This book would also be very good for any young girl who likes princesses and anything pink, just like Sophia Grace and Rosie.

Rebecca Eidnier, BGSU student

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

Eulberg, Elizabeth. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality. New York: Point, 2013. 

The main character, Lexi, is not pretty like her five year old pageant sister.  Pageants are Lexi's single mom's life and all of their money goes towards that.  Everyone loves Lexi's great personality but that is it.  She is sick of being known for just her personality and not beauty.

Eulberg writes form Lexi's perspective which really helps the reader relate to all of the things Levi is struggling with.  The dialogue Lexi has with her friend is really true to how teenagers speak.

This book does not have any illustrations but the cover does.  The title is written in read lipstick and the lipstick is laying broken at the bottom. This illustration on the cover foreshadows a lot for the book.

This book gives a great example of how older siblings may feel when it comes to the attention that they don't get as much of.  It also shows that you don't need make-up and designer clothes to be pretty or noticed.  I think this book would be appropriate for seventh grade up because of some topics discussed.

Reviewer:  T.C.

I Have a Garden

Barner, Bob. I Have a Garden. New York: Holiday House, 2013.

Told from the perspective of a dog, the dog is telling the reader everything that can be found in a garden...besides flowers.  The dog finds a variety of small animals and bugs.

Barner's writing style is very simple in this book.  One page says, "I have a bug in my garden." While another page says, "I have a bee."

Barner's illustrations are very big, bright, and colorful.  The artwork is consistent from page to page. The artwork was made with paper collage, gouache, pastel, and pencil.

I would recommend this book for any beginning reader, the illustrations match the text perfectly.  The bugs and animals in this book are very cute. The text shouldn't be intimidating to a beginning or struggling reader because there are only about five words for every few pages, and the pictures match the text.

Reviewer: Alycia Robinson

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hot or Cold?

Webb, Barbara L. Hot or Cold?Vero Beach, Fla: Rourke Educational Media, 2013.

This story gives examples of places and weather that is hot or cold.  The illustrator provides a visual of a thermometer to help the reader tell whether it is hot or cold.

The author explains a simple concept and follows it by asking the reader a question.  The author's writing style is very organized and understandable.

The illustrations consist of high contrasted colors of different scenery, pictures of people with positive facial expressions, and a picture of a thermometer to match the "hot" or "cold" pictures.

I would highly recommend this to students of the ages 3 to 7 years old.  Students who live in Ohio can relate to the pictures of kids playing in the snow and swimming during the summer.

Reviewer: Kim Vovko

The Lost Boy

Ruth, Greg. The Lost Boy. New York, NY: Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, 2013. 

The story is about a boy who stumbles upon a mystery that no one has ever fully solved.  He follows a mysterious tape recorder that gives him clues that helps him in his attempts.  Going into places before, he will learn that he is is not only living in one world.
The author does not have to say much or use many descriptors in his writing because the pictures say it all.  His writing works well with the comic style book.

The illustrations are top notch.  They show emotion where it is needed.  The words that are different from the regular font helps the readers, read with different character voices and roles that are portrayed in the story. The best part are the black background pages because it clearly indicates it is a different story.

The book was different because not many people read books in comic book form.  The story was interesting and I did not want to put the book down.  I recommend it to kids who are visual learners because there are plenty of images, but just the right amount of reading.  There is one violent part part and one part that might scare children.  Anyone over the age of 11 should be ok.

Reviewer: Aaron Smart

Monday, December 09, 2013


Larwood, Kieran. Freaks. New York: Chicken House/Scholastic, 2013.

This story is set in 1851 in London England.  The main characters are freaks in a show.  They try to solve the mystery of disappearing mudlarks because it seems like no one is going to do anything about it.
The author sets the story with the historical background of London in 1851. Then he layers his own creativity over top of it.  The writing is pretty simple but it is full of action and creative inventions and characters.
The cover is very eye catching.  And at the end of the book there are some black and white drawings of some of the characters, which is nice to have.
I would recommend this book to a child probably in the 4th to 7th grade depending on the reading level of the child.  If the child is interested in Victorian London they would love this book.  At the end the author includes some extra information on the time and place of the book.

Reveiwer: Edie Greaser

Under the Light

Whitcomb, Laura. Under the Light: A Novel. , 2013.

This book is about Helen, a ghost, needing a body so she could be with her beloved. Jenny was her host and James, the beloved, was with Blake.  The story goes on to explain how the ghosts intertwined Jenny and Blake's lives.

I feel that the author uses a lot of great detail, "She looks exhausted as she set her purse on a chair, but the next moment her eyes were sharp and she grabbed my arm with an iron grip, hushing me with a finger to her lips."  The details make the images come alive.  Also the initialized conversations between Helen and Jenny stick out.  
There is only the front cover.  It is a very whimsically done with a photo of a girl making a ripple effect in the water.  This photo is connected and creates a ripple on one another.
I would recommend it to other kids.  I feel this book is more suited for the upper range of middle level students.  The book is not difficult, however, the content is better for older students.  Ages 14-17 year olds.
Reviewer: Grace Mulvihill

See Me Dig

Meisel, Paul. See Me Dig. New York: Holiday House, 2013.

This story is about a group of dogs who likes to dig.  They find places to dig, only to be told to go away because the places they choose to dig is already occupied and they get upset.  In the end they find a place to dig.
The author's writing style is very simple.  Each sentence contains but a few words, not too complex.
The illustrations are nice and depicts the animal well.
I enjoyed the book.  I like the fact that the book is simple and that it repeats words.  Also, the images do well to match the story.  I would recommend this book to children, especially for those who have an interest in digging or in dogs.

Reviewer: Dakota Harris