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Author Archives: jbrandy

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Evil Emperor Penguin

Title:   Evil Emperor Penguin
Author:   Laura Ellen Anderson
Series:   —
Recommended for:
Pages:   64 p.
Call Number/Link:   GN J Anderon, L.

 Rating:   *****

Synopsis:

Evil Emperor Penguin lives in Antarctica and plots to take over the world with his two minions: a polite and thoughtful purple octopus and an abominable snowman who loves nothing more than a hug.

 

Comments:

For whatever reason, I am a big fan of Pinky and the Brain, Phineas and Ferb and other comics that feature a ridiculous character whose life goal is to take over the world.

It doesn’t get much more ridiculous than an evil Emperor Penguin whose minions are a sweet, fluffy abominable snowman and a purple octopus who reminds me of Alfred the butler in Batman..  I absolutely love the way that Eugene the abominable snowman consistently misinterprets the penguin’s instructions and creates “evil inventions” that actually spread joy.

To quote Eugene, “Yay!”

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Funny, Graphic Novels, Juv

 

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A New Friend for Sparkle

Title:   A New Friend for Sparkle
Author:   Amy Young
Series:   Unsure of the name of the series, but it would make sense to call it the Sparkle series
Recommended for:   unicorn fans of all ages, children in preschool and early elementary school
Pages:   unpaged
Call Number/Link:   E YOUNG, A.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Lucy’s friend Cole visits, Sparkle the “unicorn” is jealous until he and Brock discover a shared love of drumming and dancing.

 

Comments:

This book has a “unicorn”, music, dancing and friends.  It is no surprise that I loved it!

Sequel to:

A Unicorn Named Sparkle

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Picture Books

 

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Baby Dolphin’s First Swim

Title:   Baby Dolphin’s First Swim
Author:   American Museum of Natural History
Series:   not applicable
Recommended for:   a primary audience of preschoolers and early elementary school students, although it will also appeal to older kids and adults due to its clear appealing photos and interesting information
Pages:   approximately 25 p.
Call Number/Link:   E 599.53 BAB

Rating:   ****

Synopsis:

After a baby dolphin is born in the vast ocean, his mother and other dolphins help him as he learns and grows.

Comments:

How could you go wrong with baby dolphins?  Preschoolers can browse the book’s photos happily – and have fun learning a bit about dolphins.

i would guess that the book is actually intended for students in grades K-3, although it will appeal to a much wider audience.

 

 

 
 

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Real Friends

Title:   Real Friends
Author:   Shannon Hale
Series:   not applicable
Recommended for:  kids ages 8 and up, also of possible interest to teens and adults.
Pages:   211 p.
Call Number/Link:   GN J HALE, S.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When her best friend Adrienne starts hanging out with the most popular girl in class, Shannon questions with whether she and Adrienne will stay friends, and if she is part of the clique.

Comments:

While friends, friendship and cliques are an important part of this graphic novel memoir, it also deals with Shannon’s family relationships.  At the same time that she was being bullied at school, she was being bullied by an older sister at home.  While the school bullying was more often that of being excluded (or ostracized), I suspected that her older sister used to beat her up when their parents weren’t home.

The book rang true and there were times that I hurt for Shannon.  I was so happy when she finally found Real Friends and flourished!

This book could give kids who are being bullied (or don’t have many friends) hope that they too will ultimately triumph over loneliness and have good friends.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2017 in Graphic Novels, Juv

 

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Stack the Cats

Title:   Stack the Cats
Author:   Susie Ghahremani
Series:   —
Recommended for:   toddlers and preschoolers as a readaloud and counting book, early elementary school students because it’s a fairly early reader and teaches alternate ways to organize sets
Pages:   32 pages
Call Number/Link:  E GHAHREMANI, S.

Rating:   ****

 

 

Synopsis:

Cats of all shapes and sizes scamper, yawn, and stretch across the pages of this playful counting book. And every now and then, some of them pile into the purrfect cat stack!

Comments:

This is such a cute book!  The cats are adorable and remind me a little of my hero Pusheen.  The bold, colorful illustrations could work well with a group of children.

It makes me happy that the book works on more than one level.  For toddlers, it is a book with cute cats having fun.  For preschoolers, it is also a counting book.  There is also slightly trickier math for the early elementary school students when sets are regrouped (or divided).  This happens when 6 cats are divided into two groups of 3 cats and 9 cats are divided into three groups of 3 cats.

 

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Concepts, Picture Books

 

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Optimists Die First

Title:   Optimists Die First
Author:   Nielsen-Fernlund, Susin
Series:   —
Recommended for:  teens who like books that deal with death, family problems, betrayal, support groups – and a little romance. And fans of The Fault in Our Stars, The Breakfast Club and other books/movies where unlikely strangers wind up becoming friends.
Pages:   228 p.
Call Number/Link:   Teen Fiction Nielsen, S.

Ratings:   ***

 

 

Synopsis:

Since her sister’s death, Petula de Wilde sees danger in everything. A mandatory art therapy class with a groups of teenage misfits is the worst part of each week. She wants nothing to do with them– especially Jacob and his prosthetic arm. When they work together on a project, he helps her with her fears. But a secret he’s been keeping from her could unravel everything….
Comments:
I think we’ve all heard the saying:  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  I know I have.  And that I still sometimes choose a book to read because the cover grabs me.  Most often, it is because the cover features delicious looking baked goods.  But in this case, I liked the contradiction between the cover and book title.  It looks like the front of a homemade knitted sweater… with skeletons and the title Optimists Die First.  So I read the front flap and found out that the protagonist was in an art therapy group.  Be still my heart!  I’m kind of fascinated with the idea of art therapy, although I only know a little about it.
The book didn’t completely grab me, but I still liked it.  The art therapy group kind of reminded me of the support group in The Fault in Our Stars.  This may be a stretch, but the change in how the group members interacted at the beginning and at he end of the book made me think of The Breakfast Club.  Thus, I think the book could be a hit with teens who like problem novels, support groups, The Fault in Our Stars and/or The Breakfast Club.
And I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that there is a romance….
 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Nate the Great and the Tardy Tortoise

Title:   Nate the Great and the Tardy Tortoise
Author:   Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Series:   Nate the Great
Recommended for:  early readers who are almost ready for chapter books.  Also as a readaloud for children ages 4 and up.
Pages:   41 p.
Call Number/Link:  READER SHARMAT, M.

Rating:   ****

 

 

Synopsis:

As more and more of his flowers display the bite marks of a wandering tortoise, Nate sets out to uncover the mystery of the reptile’s origins.

Comments:

It is difficult to find mysteries for children at an early reader level who either want a mystery or need to read one for school.  Nate the Great is an excellent choice for those children.  While Nate is solving actual mysteries, with the help of his dog Fang, his methods will make sense to kids reading the book.  He solves mysteries by looking around, making observations and thinking about what he has seen.

I appreciate that the book’s text and illustrations are timeless, so that kids can continue enjoying Nate the Great for years to come.

 

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Readers

 

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