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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Dust of Eden

Dust of edenTitle:Dust of Eden
Author: Mariko Nagai
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 4th – 8th Grade
Pages: 121 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION NAGAI, M.

Synopsis:”Thirteen-year-old Mina Tagawa and her Japanese-American family are forced to evacuate their Seattle home and are relocated to an internment camp in Idaho, where they live for three years”– Provided by publisher.

I am an avid fantasy reader, but this book caught my attention while I was fixing shelves. I highly recommend this book as it takes a look at a subject that is not really talked about. It is told in verse so it is a short read, but does a great job of showing Mina’s feelings.  After reading about this family’s  experience I want to do some research and actually read some nonfiction books to learn more.  I feel that if a class is learning about World War II, that this is a good book that can be brought in as a different look World War II.  Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata, A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice and Dash by Kirby Larson are other fiction books that cover Japanese-American Internment camps.

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Posted by on March 12, 2016 in Historical, Juv

 

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Ms. Rapscott’s Girls

Ms. Rapscott's Girls cover

 

Title:   Ms. Rapscott’s Girls
Author:   Elise Primavera
Series:   —
Recommended for:  students in grades 3-5
Pages:   262 p.
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION PRIMAVERA, E.

Rating:  ***

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“At Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents, Ms. Rapscott teaches her students How to Get Lost on Purpose, resulting in a series of fantastical adventures that makes each learn a little something about courage, strength, bravery, and teamwork”– Provided by publisher.

Comments:

One day, ordinary girls of extraordinarily busy (or neglectful, to be more frank) found themselves arriving at Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents via large cardboard boxes floating in the air.  This was their first sign that this was not an ordinary school.  Instead of using textbooks to learn academic subjects, they went on adventures to try to find the classmate whose box got lost on the way to the school.  Since the girls had been ignored most of their childhood, they needed to learn about basic things like wishbones, birthday cakes, thank you notes and the difference between tall kitchen bags and heavy duty trash bags.  My favorite part of the experience would have been getting to eat birthday cake regularly.

It’s a pleasant enough book, but it didn’t grab me.  I was able to put the book down after one chapter then not read it again for a week or two, when I read another chapter.  I had to force myself to finish it.  I gave it three stars instead of two, because I felt like I should have enjoyed it more.

I think girls would be more interested in this book than boys, since the teacher and students are all girls (except for the teacher’s two corgies).  There are some boys near the end of the book, but I think boys would have given up reading the book by then.

 

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Adventure, Fantasy, Juv

 

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Fabulous Frogs

Fabulous Frogs cover

Title:   Fabulous Frogs
Author:   Martin Jenkins
Series:   –
Recommended for:   Preschoolers and students in grades K-3
Pages:   28
Call Number/Link:   E 597.8 JEN

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Looks at all kinds of frogs, from exotic species to the common greenish-brown specimens found in backyards, discussing their characteristics, life cycles, and habitats.

Comments:

I dearly love good narrative non-fiction, so was happy to come across Fabulous Frogs.  The book is written on two different levels.  The larger print works well as a readaloud for preschoolers and early elementary school students.  Fortunately for young report writers (and older readers), some pages also have small print that provides additional information about the page’s topic.

The vivid illustrations add interest and further extend the text.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2016 in Non-Fiction, Picture Books

 

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MARTians

MArtians

Title:  MARTians

Author:  Blythe Woolston
Series:
Recommended for: 8th grade and up
Pages:  216
Call Number/Link: MARTians

Synopsis:  Last girl Zoë Zindleman, numerical ID 009-99-9999, is starting work at AllMART, where “your smile is the AllMART welcome mat.” Her living arrangements are equally bleak: she can wait for her home to be foreclosed and stripped of anything valuable now that AnnaMom has moved away, leaving Zoë behind, or move to the Warren, an abandoned strip-mall-turned-refuge for other left-behinds. With a handful of other disaffected, forgotten kids, Zoë must find her place in a world that has consumed itself beyond redemption. She may be a last girl, but her name means “life,” and Zoë isn’t ready to disappear into the AllMART abyss. Zoë wants to live.

Imagine a world run by WalMart.  Schools, government, everything is run by the corporation.  It’s a future made even eerier by it’s familiarity.  Woolston has taken consumerism to it’s logical conclusion and it leads to a world where everyone works for one of the ‘Marts).  If you have ‘potential’ you work in the store.  If you don’t (or if you question the system) you could end up on a ship harvesting plastic in and ocean garbage patch, or something worse.  The bits and pieces of details about this world that Woolston doles out are fascinating and thought provoking.  This isn’t an action packed dystopian like Divergent.  For teens who like interesting and thoughtful books with a dash of snark.  Similar to ‘Feed’ by M. T. Anderson, ‘Unwind’ by Neal Schusterman, and ‘Material Girls’ by Elaine Dimpoulos.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Dystopian, Sci-Fi

 

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Awkward

awkward cover

Title:   Awkward
Author:   Svetlana Chmakova
Series:   –
Recommended for:   kids in grades 4-7 who like realistic graphic novels (or graphic novels in general)
Pages:   210 p.
Call Number/Link:   GN J CHMAKOVA, S.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After shunning Jaime, the school nerd, on her first day at a new middle school, Penelope Torres tries to blend in with her new friends in the art club, until the art club goes to war with the science club, of which Jaime is a member.

Comments:

I’m not a big graphic novel fan, and read this on a young patron’s recommendation.  I liked it pretty well, but will probably stick with Babymouse and Lunch Lady when I feel the urge to read a graphic novel.  That said, the author gave a pretty accurate, cringeworthy picture of what middle school can be like for outsiders – whether they are new kids or lonely kids that others like to victimize.  Some situations and characters are exaggerated to make more of an impact, but it still feels like middle school.

This is a good book to recommend to kids who enjoyed Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Graphic Novels, Juv, Realistic

 

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Spinning Starlight

SpinningStarlight-678x1024Title: Spinning Starlight
Author: R.C. Lewis
Recommended for: Middle and High School
Pages: 327 
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION LEWIS, R 

 

 

Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen must save her brothers in this outer-space retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans.

Review:  I picked this up because I loved the cover, but I wasn’t quite sure I would like something about an “heiress and paparazzi darling.”  Thankfully, I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings, especially if there is something special about them.  This is a futuristic (and other-planetary) sci-fi that addresses the issues of genius, the supernatural, the meaning of life, the value of the written word, and specialization vs. generalization.  Mostly, however, it is a story about a girl who loves her brothers so deeply that she is willing to risk everything to save them.  The connections to The Wild Swan were well done, but did not interfere with the world building.  There is romance,  but I let my 8 year old read the book.  I don’t know if she will like it, but there is nothing objectionable in it.  Recommended for fans of Cinder.

 

Cleopatra in space

Cleopatra in space
Cleopatra in Space

Cleopatra in Space

Title: Cleopatra in space
Author: Mike Maihack
Series: Cleopatra in space
Recommended for: 3-7th Grade
Pages: 168
Call Number/Link:  GN J CLEOPATRA V. 1
Synopsis: When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo’s style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she’s going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!

Review: Cleopatra in space is a happy meaI, it is a sausage pizza, an IKEA LACK table, it is an old familiar movie you run across on cable and stop to watch. It is a bog-standard “chosen one” plot featuring a plucky heroine, a mixed bag of competent sidekicks, an exasperated non-human mentor, and a hint of an overarching dark secret by the “good guys” leaders. Cleopatra in Space not a great book, but it is an effective one.

This review may well sounds like I am disrespecting CiS, but the thing is, this is a well-made book. It features the exact mixture of adventure and daring do that a child would enjoy. It features a female PoC as a lead and has a few more books in the series to come. As a graphic novel the complexity is decently easy with wonderful illustrations.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Graphic Novels, Juv, Sci-Fi

 

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