Monthly Archives: November 2015



Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Recommended for: 9th grade and up
Pages: 384

Synopsis:  For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

I loved Willowdean.  She and really all of the other characters are well developed, real and so much fun. The book addresses all kinds of teen problems and angst without being at all ‘preachy’ or serious.  Crushes, friendship problems, bullying, hurt feelings, insecurities, heartbreak, Will faces them all and comes out on the other side with her sense of humor and self esteem intact.  Willowdean and her circle of friends come to embrace who they are and believe in themselves, not in what others think about them.  Will is a great inspiration for any teen who feels they don’t fit in. As one reviewer put it, “I am happy to tell you no one loses weight in this book, and no one feels compelled to explain how a hot guy could fall for a full sized gal. Thank you. Seriously. Instead, you can expect to find some cross dressing Dolly Parton impersonators, myriad references to the song Jolene, and big girls showing up weird, loud, and proud to walk the beauty pageant catwalk.”

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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Funny, Realistic, self-esteem, Teen



When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses

Title: When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses
Author: Rebecca L. Johnson
Series: n/a
Recommended for: 1-6th grade
Pages: 48
Call Number/Link:  J 591.47 JOH

Synopsis: Presents the various types of defenses mechanisms used by animals, including the bone spikes of the African hairy frog, the delunch fights backadly poison of the blue-spotted N. taracua termite, and the hammer-like punch of the peacock mantis shrimp.

Did you know that the fulmar chick when it’s threatened will spew a foul smelling orange-yellow vomit to chase away its attacker or that a  horned lizard has the ability to shoot streams of blood from it’s eyes to defend itself?  These are the kinds of facts that are in this book about animal defenses.  Each chapter is about an animal that has a weird and disgusting way to defend itself.  The first part of the chapter describes a narrative in which the creature is under attack, and the later part describes the science behind the story, sometimes including information about how scientists made their discoveries.

This book could possibly used for a child writing a report for basic information, but I think this will really appeal to the kids who really likes the gross stuff.  The photography shows these animals in great detail, and often while they are doing what they do to defend themselves. 



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Posted by on November 29, 2015 in Juv, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized


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The Octopuppy

octopuppy2Title: The Octopuppy
Author: Martin McKenna
Series: n/a
Recommended for:  Preschool – 1st Grade
Pages: 32 pages
Call Number/Link:  E MCKENNA, M.

Synopsis: Edgar wanted a pet dog, but what he got instead was a rather brilliant octopus named Jarvis.

This picture book is no different than other books about wanting a pet and getting a pet you didn’t want. Like all the other books Edgar, the boy, learns to love his pet by the end.  The huge difference is the other books had actual pets you can buy at a pet store, not this one.  Watch out pet stores you might have kids asking for an Octopuppy (Octopus) soon.  The octopus named Jarvis is so cool.  One thing that Jarvis does is wrap himself in toilet paper and pretends to be a mummy when told to play dead! I would love to have him as a pet if he could really do all those things pictured.  He can do things way better than any dog or regular pet for that matter.  The illustrations are wonderful and add to the text what is going on in the minds of Jarvis and Edgar.  I also like that the text is big and not text heavy in the picture book.

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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Funny, Picture Books


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Mother Bruce

mother bruceTitle: Mother Bruce
Author: Ryan T. Higgins
Series: n/a
Recommended for: Preschool and up
Pages: 39 pages
Call Number/Link:  E HIGGINS, R.

Synopsis: Bruce is a grumpy bear who likes no one and nothing but cooked eggs, but when some eggs he was planning to boil hatch and the goslings believe he is their mother, he must try to make the best of the situation.

Bruce may be grumpy but he uses the internet to look up recipes, a grocery cart to collect ingredients in the forest and he likes to support local business.  This picture book made me laugh.  I had to check it out and read to my older children, who found it funny also.  The graphics are great and add to the great story as you can see Bruce is grumpy throughout the book.  The text is big, bold, and not a whole lot per page.  I think those who like Tops and Bottoms or Tacky the Penguin may enjoy this book.

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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Funny, Picture Books


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Thirteen Chairs

23436913Title: Thirteen Chairs
Author: Dave Shelton
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 5th- 8th
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Shelton, D. 

Synopsis: In an abandoned house, the ghosts gather. They argue, they laugh, and they tell their stories. Some tell their own stories, some tell stories they have heard elsewhere. Some of them are true, some are not. But each tale draws you closer.

One by one, the storytellers depart, until suddenly it’s just you and the narrator, alone in the dark…

My Thoughts: 8th grade may be pushing it a little for this one, but it’s a general all ages one. The stories for me were necessarily scary, but several of them were fun/creepy. This would be a great read for those who like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Goosebumps, or even Skeleton Creek.

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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Horror, Teen, Uncategorized


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Don’t Fail Me Now

Title: Don’t Fail Me Now
Author: Una LaMarche
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction LaMarche, U.

Synopsis: Michelle and her little siblings Cass and Denny are African-American and living on the poverty line in urban Baltimore, struggling to keep it together with their mom in jail and only Michelle’s part-time job at the Taco Bell to sustain them.

Leah and her stepbrother Tim are white and middle class from suburban Maryland, with few worries beyond winning lacrosse games and getting college applications in on time.

Michelle and Leah only have one thing in common: Buck Devereaux, the biological father who abandoned them when they were little.

After news trickles back to them that Buck is dying, they make the uneasy decision to drive across country to his hospice in California. Leah hopes for closure; Michelle just wants to give him a piece of her mind.

Five people in a failing, old station wagon, living off free samples at food courts across America, and the most pressing question on Michelle’s mind is: Who will break down first–herself or the car? All the signs tell her they won’t make it. But Michelle has heard that her whole life, and it’s never stopped her before….

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I loved that it had diversity not only in race, but in class as well. It’s also a kind of different take on roadtrips. It’s not about fun or getting over heartache, but literally a race to make it to the other side of the country before someone dies. At the heart of the story it’s really all about family. It’s more than just about the dad, who was a dead beat all around, but trying to learn to connect with a sister(s) you knew existed but had never met or seen. It was about learning how to connect when if feels like you are worlds apart, but learning you may be more alike than you could have ever imagine. This one is def. worth checking out/suggesting to the teens looking for a realistic story with a splash of drama.

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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Realistic, Teen, Uncategorized


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Captain Awesome to the rescue



Title: Captain Awesome to the rescue
Author: Stan Kirby
Series: Captain Awesome
Recommended for: K – 2nd grade
Pages: 105
Call Number/Link:  J KIR

Synopsis: When second-grader Eugene and his family move to a new neighborhood and he starts at a new school, he has a chance to bring out his superhero alter ego, Captain Awesome, to find the kidnapped class hamster.

I picked up this book thinking it would be great for boys who were just beginning chapter books, and we know that it is a little more challenging to find a book with a young boys as the center of the story as opposed to young girls.  It has cartoons, larger print, and a main character who thought he was a superhero.  The reviews on NoveList were positive.  I was excited!  What a disappointment.  I found the story confusing, bouncing back and forth between Eugene’s thoughts/actions as an eight-year-old kid and those as a superhero. It could be that I am just too old to understand it. It did have some good points.  Eugene does make a friend, and he does solve the mystery of the missing hamster, but I thought appearing in front of his class a s a superhero was very farfetched. Maybe the reviewers of this book for NoveList are more educated than I am in good fiction choices for children.  I feel there are better books to choose than this particular title.


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Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Adventure, Funny, Juv, Uncategorized