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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lowriders in space

Lowriders in space

 

Lowriders in Space

Lowriders in Space

Title: Lowriders in space
Author: Cathy Camper, Illustrator: Raul Gonzalez
Series: Lowriders in space
Recommended for: 3-8th grade
Pages:
Call Number/Link:  GN J LOWRIDERS V. 1

 

Synopsis: Lupe, Flapjack, & Elirio customize their car into a low rider for the Universal Car Competition to win the cash prize that will enable them to buy their own garage.

Review: I loved this book!  From its heady use of ink pens in illustration and rough paper design esthetic to its can-do spirit, this book has a real DIY empowerment idea going on.  This book is a wonderful tale of three friends working together to achieve a dream.  Told as seemingly by black, red, & blue ink pens on the back of found paper, this story relates the story of a magical car ride through space as the heroes try to win a competition.  Add to it a heavy dose of Spanish (with explaining footnotes for these possibly new words and slang) and this is a book has a subtle teachable element without feeling like it lectures.  Each of the the three heroes of the story are relatable and the power of their friendship is quite excellent.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Juv, Spanish

 

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The Skeleton Tree

25489148 (1)Title: The Skeleton Tree
Author: Iain Lawrence
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 4 -6
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Lawrence, I (We don’t actually own though)

Synopsis: Less than 48 hours after twelve-year-old Chris casts off on a trip to sail down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they’ve got to find a way to forage, fish and scavenge supplies from the shore. Chris likes the company of a curious friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank. But the boys have to get along if they want to survive.

Because as the days get colder, and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. There in the wilderness of Kodiak, they discover a bond they didn’t expect, and through it, the compassion and teamwork that might truly be the path to rescue.

My Review: This is one of those quirky books that I don’t know how I actually feel about it. It’s about two boys who end up ship wrecked on an island alone. It’s their journey of dealing with grief, settling into a relationship/getting to know each other, & learning to survive on their own.

It’s kind of a slow-moving book though, and I’m not sure how many in the intended audience would actually stick with it. Both of the main characters are fine, but I never really got attached to them. (In fact, the character I got most attached to was a freaking crow. Seriously. A crow.) There’s a bit of a twist, which adult readers will pick up on right away, but the kids may miss it. If you have a kid who is more character-driven than action-based, I’d consider giving them this one.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

The Imposter Queen

23495112Title: The Imposter Queen
Author: Sarah Fine
Series: The Imposter Queen #1
Recommended for: Grade 6 & up
Pages: 432
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Fine, S

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

My Thoughts: I had a lot of fun with this one and would be great for those fantasy people. The world is not overly unique, but enough so that it’s not one I’ve seen too often. The kingdom is protected by the Valtia, who can wield powerful magic. The magic is not solely hers though and it passes on to her predecessor, the Saadella, on her death. Elli is the current Saadella, the only problem is when the Valtia dies the magic doesn’t transfer to her. In fact, she can’t even do the most basic thing like freeze ice or light a fire. Knowing they’ll kill her, Elli rans and finds herself in the outlands with bandits/outcasts. It’s there she learns there is way more to the magic of the land and that not all is as it seems.

There are times where it was a bit predictable, but nothing that was too horrible that I couldn’t get over. The romance is pretty mild. They kiss and sleep next to each other (innocently) but it wasn’t too much beyond that. It is implied that there is way more there and even some talk, but nothing is depicted on the page. This series is one to look into and one I’ll be gladly be continuing.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in Fantasy, Teen

 

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Stay Where You Are & Then Leave

 

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Title: Stay Where You Are & Then Leave

Author: John Boyne
Series: N/A

Recommended for: Grades 3 thru 8
Pages: 245
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION BOYNE, J.

Synopsis: The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight; but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission. While shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by; a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock. Alfie isn’t sure what shell shock is, but he is determined to rescue his father.

MINOR SPOILER ALERT AT THE END!

Alfie’s journey from an innocent 5 year-old to a 9 year-old child of the war is very interesting.  In some ways he has become wise beyond his years, and in other ways he is very much a young child.  His desire to help support his mother is very mature, as is the way he decides to do it. His determination to find his father and bring him home is admirable but unrealistic. This book might be a challenge for some kids because it mentions things that would be unknown here due to the different country in which the story occurs and the time period.  It discusses conscientious objectors and internment and touches on the horrors of war.  I did find it interesting, and I would recommend it as realistic fiction. But I think, from an adult perspective, the ending was too easy and not realistic.  Sometimes you cannot wrap up all the loose ends in a nice little package. It just doesn’t ring true.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Juv, Realistic

 

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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Title: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Author: Martin, Bill Jr

Series: N/A

Recommended for: Birth to Kindergarten

Pages: 40

Call Number/Link:  E MARTI

“A told B and B told C I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree.” A mischievous group of 26 lower case letters race each other to the top of the coconut tree. Not before the tree starts to bend and all the letters fall down and get twisted in a big pile. 

 

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Boy Most Likely To

The boy most likely to

Title: The Boy Most Likely To

Author: Fitzpatrick, Huntley

Series: N/A

Recommended for: High School grades 10-12

Pages: 425

Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Fitzpatrick, H.

 

Synopsis: Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Recommend for patrons that liked Paper Towns and high school patrons due to language and some scenes of teen sexual activity. This book is very engaging, funny and keeps you in the thoughts of the author by switching characters so you know what each person is thinking.  Keeps you thinking and you would not guess the ending.  A fun descriptive book that details what happens when you constantly have bad luck but decide to make everything alright.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in Fantasy, Teen

 

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Material Girls

material girls

Title: Material Girls
Author: Elaine Dimopoulos
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 4-8
Pages: 239
Call Number/Link: TEEN FICTION DIMOPOULOS
Synopsis: In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion. Are you in or are you out?

I enjoyed ‘Material Girls’, it’s a different take on they dystopian genre.  There’s no meteor strikes, rising oceans, or police state.  Society is controlled through social media and consumerism, especially clothing.  As a trend setter, Marla must scan the bar codes of everything she puts on in the morning to make sure it hasn’t gone out of style overnight.  She begins have trouble at work because she stops recommending the strange and impractical clothing the company wants to promote. Both she and Ivy, the other main character, start to see how they’re being used to keep people buying impractical fashions that they don’t need.  The ending let me down a little.  How can getting people to buy even more clothing, even if it is ‘eco-chic’ stop rampant consumerism?

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Teen

 

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Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens

chickensTitle: Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens
Author: Julie Mata
Series: Kate Walden Directs
Recommended for: grades 4-7
Pages: 304
Call Number/Link: J FICTION MATA, J.

Synopsis: Night of the Zombie Chickens is supposed to be Kate Walden’s breakout film. But her supporting actresses-her mother’s prize organic hens-are high maintenance, to say the least. Thank goodness Kate’s best friend Alyssa is the star. She’s great at screaming and even better at killing zombies in creative ways.

But when Alyssa turns into a real-life soulless zombie and ditches Kate for the most popular girl in seventh grade, Kate suddenly finds herself both friendless and starless. Now, thanks to Alyssa’s new crowd, Kate is the butt of every joke at school and consigned to the loser table at lunch.

If movies have taught Kate anything, it’s that the good guy can always win-with the right script. And her fellow social outcasts may be the key to her own happy ending. Kate hatches the perfect revenge plot against her former best friend, but even though her screenplay is foolproof, Kate soon realizes that nothing-in filmmaking or in life-ever goes exactly as planned. Especially when there are diabolical hens out to get you.

I picked up this book because of the title.  Who could resist ‘zombie chickens’?  I kept reading it because it’s a great middle school book.  Kate is funny, flawed and very real. ‘Zombie Chickens’ contains valuable lessons about middle school issues like relationships, family, and preteen awkwardness but with enough humor and compassion to keep it from being preachy.  And there’s just enough snark from Kate to make it all fun.

This would be a great book both for lovers of realistic fiction like Wendy Mass and Lauren Myracle as well as fans funny middle school books like Dork Diaries and Wimpy Kid.

 

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Funny, Juv, Realistic

 

The Goblin Baby

Goblin Baby cover

Title:   The Goblin Baby
Author:   Berlie Doherty
Series:   Stepping Stone Book
Recommended for:   kids who like fantasy, kids who are required to read fantasy for school, seems best for grades 3-5 – younger as a read-aloud
Pages:   120 pages
Call Number/Link:   J DOH

Rating:   ***

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After nine-year-old Tam’s baby sister is stolen away by faeries and replaced by a goblin baby, he must journey to the land of the faeries to retrieve her and bring her back home.

Comments:

It can be a challenge to find a fantasy book that is 100-150 pages long and will have appeal for kids who “don’t like fantasy.”  The Goblin Baby meets those criteria.  The story follows a traditional fairy/folk tale plot line.  The faeries come to a house with a young baby and snatch the baby, leaving a changeling (or goblin baby) in its place.  The baby’s older brother goes on a quest to get the baby from the faerie queen and king.  He needs to obey challenging rules to be able to get back home, and the faeries try to tempt him to break those rules.  The brother’s bravery, self-control and good heart ultimately save the day – and get his baby sister back.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2016 in Adventure, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Juv

 

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