Monthly Archives: February 2016

Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights

Glow cover

Title:   Glow:  Animals with Their Own Night-Lights
Author:   W.H. Beck
Series:   —
Recommended for:   pretty much anyone – it’s a very cool book
Call Number/Link:  E 591.472 BEC

Rating:  *****






Why be afraid of the dark when there is so much to see? Whether it’s used to hunt, hide, find a friend, or escape an enemy, bioluminescence (the ability to glow) is a unique adaptation in nature. In this fun and fascinating nonfiction picture book, join world renowned photographers and biologists on their close encounters with the curious creatures that make their own light.


This book is so cool!!!  The photos are stunning – and reason enough to pick up the book.  The glowing animals are set against a black background and their colors absolutely pop.  The text is presented in two levels of difficulty.  The larger print text is appropriate for reading the book out loud to groups of any age, starting with preschoolers.  Thanks to the photos, the book still works for elementary students and older.  Smaller text at the bottom of the page provides more detailed information about the animal in that page’s photograph.

It is the type of book that could intrigue kids enough that they’ll want to learn more about bioluminescence – and possibly spark an interest in science.



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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in Juv, Non-Fiction, Picture Books


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Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms!

Brainstorms cover

Title:   Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms!
Author:   Philippe Coudray
Series:   Toon into Reading.  Level 2.
Recommended for:   Kids who like funny books who are in first grade and up.  Is intended as an early reader but is funny for anyone who is advanced enough to understand the humor.  (Toddlers and younger preschoolers wouldn’t “get” the humor.)
Pages:   35 p.
Call Number/Link:  GN J COUDRAY, P.

Rating:   ****





A collection of one-page comic strips featuring Benjamin Bear, a very serious bear who has his own silly logic for doing things


The official description may say that Benjamin Bear has his own silly logic for doing things.  I considered him a creative, out of the box thinker.  There were a couple of times that I thought, “Genius!”  There were also several times that I laughed out loud.  Some of the cartoons are wordless, some have minimal words and some have text in every frame.  Every single one at least made me smile.

It can be difficult to predict what will make people (children and adult alike) laugh, but I will be looking for other Benjamin Bear books on days that I need a giggle.

The official information in the back of the book says that the books is their Level 2.  They list equivalencies as:  Grades 1-2, Lexile BR-240, Guided reading G-K, Reading Recovery 11-18.

It is described as an Easy-to-Read Comic for Emerging Readers with:

  • 300-700 words
  • short sentences and repetition
  • a story arc with few characters in a small world and
  • 1-4 panels per page





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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Adventure, Funny, Graphic Novels, Juv


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Hands off, Harry!

Tihands offtle: Hands Off, Harry!
Author:  Rosemary Wells
Series: Kindergators
Recommended for: Preschool to maybe 1st grade
Pages: 32
Call Number/Link:  E WELLS


Harry has trouble keeping his hands off his classmates until Tina thinks of the perfect piece of gym equipment to teach him about personal space.

The incomparable Rosemary Wells has created a series of books to help with issues that might come up in a classroom setting–preschool or kindergarten.  This book is one of the few books I have seen that discusses strategies for kids who touch other people and their things.  It is a funny story, but it teaches a lesson and gives action steps.  It is also much more nuanced than a title like “Hands are Not for Hitting.”  I get questions about issues like this a lot, and this book is very helpful.The only other book in the series currently appears to be Miracle Melts Down about temper tantrums in the classroom.

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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Funny, Manner/Behaviors, Picture Books


The iPhone that Saved George Washington

iphone GWTitle:  The iPhone that Saved George Washington
Author: David Potter
Series: The Left Behinds
Recommended for: 4th-7th grade
Pages: 344
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION POTTER, D.



Synopsis:  Three students, Mel, Bev, and Brandon, left behind at their prestigious school during Christmas break, find themselves in 1776 New Jersey with General George Washington dead at their feet, and twelve-year-old Mel must find a way, using his iPhone, to set things right.

Review:  This is like the Magic Tree House for older kids.  The iPhone has an app that sends them back in time, and hilarity ensues.  Kids will learn about history, the adventure is madcap and the narrator is witty.  My biggest quibble is that I got bored of them using the iPhone to befuddle people from history.  I didn’t want to hear them explain the iPhone any more times, and the sequence where they tried to recharge the battery with Benjamin Franklin was kind of ludicrous.  For me, the action picked up once they actually took part in changing history back to where it should be and used ingenuity instead of cheap iPhone tricks.  At the end of the story, they discover that this is all a dastardly plot to create mayhem, and more adventures will be forthcoming.  A trilogy is planned.

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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Adventure, Funny, Historical, Juv


The Siren

The siren


Title:     The Siren

Author:   Kiera Cass

Series: N/A

Recommended for:   Ages 13-17

Pages:   336

Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Cass, K.

Synopsis:   Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who’s everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger…but Kahlen can’t bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?

This was such a spellbinding book.  I loved the way she writes the character so heart felt.  She is unique and feels so many things and does not know why until she asks the Ocean more questions.  The twists and turns keeps you on the edge of your seat and you will never guess the ending.  Surprising what people keep hidden because they just don’t think it’s possible.  Can’t wait to for the sequel to see where she takes it, there are so many possibilities.  A great read for 8th grade and beyond.

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Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Romance, Teen


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Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid

stinkTitle: Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid
Author: Megan McDonald
Series: Stink
Recommended for: Kids 1st-4th grade
Pages: 102
Call Number/Link: J MCD


The shortest kid in the second grade is  James Moody, also known as Stink. Every morning, older sister Judy measures Stink, and it’s always the same: 3 feet, 8 inches tall. Stink feels like even the class newt is growing faster than he is. Then one day, the ruler reads – 3 feet, 7 and three-quarter inches! Can it be? Is Stink shrinking? Stink tries everything to look like he’s growing, but wearing up-and-down stripes and spiking his hair don’t seem to be fooling anybody into thinking he’s taller. What would James Madison, Stink‘s hero do?


This is the first book in the Stink series.  Stink is the younger brother of Judy Moody, and the typical brother-sister rivalry goes on.  I found the book to be funny, and the character likeable. His hero worship of President James Madison is unexpected and hilarious.   I listened to this on audio, which was read by Nancy Cartwright, best known as the voice of Bart Simpson.  It was really well done with character voices and made it entertaining to listen to. Good book series to suggest for early chapter readers, and younger fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate.

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Posted by on February 6, 2016 in Uncategorized



Bees book cover

Title:   Bees
Author:   Laura Marsh
Series:   National Geographic Kids
Recommended for:  early readers (though not very early readers), preschool and gr. K-2 as readaloud
Pages:   32
Call Number/Link:   READER 595.799 MAR

Rating:   ****






Introduces honeybees, describing their physical features, different roles in the hive, and the importance of bee pollination for the world’s food supply.


An inviting source of information about honeybees for the picture book/early reader crowd.  Interesting text, vivid photographic illustrations, important vocabulary defined within the text as “Buzz Words.”  Thanks to the cool facts about bees section, I now know that bees can see colors and prefer blue, purple and yellow flowers.  (Not coincidentally, I have decided to plant red and pink flowers this year.)  I especially enjoyed the riddles scattered through the book.  The quiz at the end of the book lets the reader check how much he or she has learned.



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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Non-Fiction


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