Category: Uncategorized

A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper

A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper

A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper (InfoSoup)

Released February 9, 2016.

Every card has a special grown up job, except for Little Card and Long Card. There were cards who were price tags, others were office folders, others were postcards. So the two cards waited for their special letter to arrive. But on the day the letter arrived, the two cards collided and cards went everywhere. Little Card picked up a letter and read that he was going to be a birthday card! He got lots of training and found that he loved everything about being a birthday card. But one day when he got home, Long Card was there and told him there had been a mix up. She was the birthday card and he was a different type of card. It was too late to be trained again, so Little Card was sent off immediately to work at the library as a library card. He tried to use his birthday card training at his new job, but his loud singing wasn’t welcome. Little Card soon learned though what special things were available at the library and was thrilled in the end to know that he could be at the library more than once a year!

This clever take on libraries and having a library card is very nicely structured. The exuberance of Little Card makes the book read aloud well. Children will enjoy the pleasure of the birthday card part of the book, the loud singing, the cake, and the balloons. One might think that that would overshadow the more quiet library portion of the book, but the author made sure to make the library part just as appealing, so the result is that libraries are shown as being just as much fun and just as joyous as a birthday party. Hurrah!

The illustrations of the book are just as fun and buoyant as the story itself. Done in ink washes, pencil, pen and ink, and stamps, they were also colored digitally. They have a nice simplicity to them that will make this book easy to share with groups. The sprightly Little Card dances (literally) across the page and invites children to have a great time with the book and at the library.

A jaunty picture book about libraries, this book will be welcome for library tour groups as well as for introducing children to libraries as a place of fun. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from ARC received from Candlewick Press.

Glow by W.H. Beck

Glow by WH Beck

Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights by W. H. Beck (InfoSoup)

This nonfiction picture book invites young readers to explore the world of bioluminescence. Set against black backgrounds these glowing creatures pop on the page. The book not only shows different organisms that glow, but also explains why they glow too. Children will learn the terms for the chemicals that allow the light to be created and also see that there are some creatures who glow but no one knows quite why. Filled with dazzling photographs, this is a book that will fly off the shelves of public libraries as kids are hooked by the fish on the cover.

Beck has the book written at two levels. The larger font offers a less specific look at the organisms themselves and therefore a simpler experience. The smaller font allows readers to learn more about each creature. More information on each is also found at the end of the book where size, Latin name, and the depth they live at is given for each. This is a book that is engaging and fascinating. The text is restrained and focused, offering enough information to appeal but never standing in the way of the dazzling creatures themselves.

The photographs in the book are exceptional. Each shows the light of the creature against a black background, allowing that creature attention by the reader. The photos were taken by several different photographers, yet they make for a cohesive book thanks to their similar nature and the beauty they depict. I particularly enjoyed the firefly photo and the glowing shoreline.

An awesome book that is sure to appeal to children who enjoy nature and bizarre creatures, this is a winning science book for public libraries. Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from HMH Books for Young Readers.

Friday Barnes, Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt

Friday Barnes Girl Detective by RA Spratt

Friday Barnes, Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt, illustrated by Phil Gosier (InfoSoup)

Friday has long known the power of being invisible to everyone else. Her parents rarely pay any attention to her and she got herself moved from kindergarten to first grade without anyone noticing. When she solves a bank robbery, the award money lets her pay tuition to Highcrest Academy, a very exclusive private school. Friday hopes to continue to be invisible, but her brown sweaters and jeans don’t serve as camouflage among the trendy and expensive clothes. Anyway, Friday soon discovers that what Highcrest Academy needs is a detective since there is crime everywhere! As Friday steps into that role, she tries to solve a series of cases from missing homework to who exactly is the yeti in the swamp. This funny and clever book is the first in a new series that is sure to delight.

Friday is a great female protagonist. She is highly intelligent and never apologizes for it. She is also socially awkward but manages to find a great friend at school, another girl who is her perfect foil, a daydreamer who can read emotions well. Friday has no interest in being popular, another breath of fresh air. The unlikely pair make a great team in solving mysteries and are joined by others including a doltish brother who does what he is told very well and a principal who also needs Friday’s help.

The entire book is smart and humorous. Friday solves crimes in ways that make sense and the crimes themselves are small enough to fit into a middle school campus but large enough to be fascinating. While there is some bullying, many of the boarding school tropes of mean girls are minimized in favor of the mysteries themselves. The closed-in setting of the boarding school is used to great effect as the suspects must often be right in the vicinity.

A dazzling new series, this book has tons of appeal for mystery fans and features a unique new protagonist to love. Appropriate for ages 8-11.

Reviewed from e-galley received from Roaring Brook Press and Edelweiss.

My Story, My Dance by Lesa Cline-Ransome

My Story My Dance by Lesa Cline Ransome

My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome (InfoSoup)

Starting from his birth through his rise to Artistic Director at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, this picture book celebrates Robert Battle’s life. Born with bowed legs, he was taken in by his aunt and uncle and then raised by his cousin Dessie. It was with Dessie that he discovered a love of music and words. He sang in the church choir and after he got his leg braces off, he began to take karate. At age 13, he started dance late in life for a dancer. Soon Robert was noticed by his high school dance instructor and then auditioned for The New World School of Arts. As he grew, he got to see the Alvin Ailey dance troupe perform and was awed by them. Moving to New York City to attend Julliard, his dancing reached another level and progressively he moved to work with Alvin Ailey. This story of talent and determination celebrates dance and the power it has to communicate.

The prose by Cline-Ransome is spry and fast moving. She shows the importance of family in Robert’s upbringing, even if his mother was not in the picture. The theme of the warmth of family plays throughout the book, from the early pages to the very end where Robert Battle is speaking to the Alvin Ailey audience. The author makes sure to not only talk about the facts of Battle’s life but also shows how his early disability and his willingness to work exceedingly hard played into his later success.

Ransome has done the illustrations in this picture book biography in pastels. The rich colors are gorgeous on the page. He uses them to show the richness of Battle’s life and then when the book shows the movement of dance, he uses them to create the moves from one position to another fluidly across the page in a rainbow of sketches.

A lovely biography on a contemporary figure in American and African-American dance, this picture book is rich and powerful. Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

 

 

Henry Wants More! by Linda Ashman

Henry Wants More by Linda Ashman

Henry Wants More! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes (InfoSoup)

Henry is a very busy toddler who just can’t get enough of all he loves in life. He wants to be lifted up high more, have his favorite song sung more than ten times, play even more games with his sister and be pulled back and forth by his brother even more. As bedtime nears, Henry is in his pajamas but still wide awake. His mother promises two bedtime books, but reads four. Then, shh, Henry is fast asleep. It’s his mother who wants a little more time with Henry at the end.

Ashman uses rhyme to great effect here. Her stanzas feel free and unbound by structure so the rhyming really works well. Read aloud, the rhymes fall into place with Henry himself filling in many of the rhymes with demands for “more” and “again!” Ashman captures the life of a toddler and a family who clearly adores him. Though Henry’s demands may sound harsh in my description, they are done with constant joy and never petulance so the tone of the book is positive throughout.

Hughes’ illustrations show a multiracial family with a grandmother too. The family includes pets and the entire book is filled with warmth and a cheery love. Henry’s own personality is captured in the illustrations with their bright colors and details.

Just right for toddlers, this picture book will be enjoyed by little ones who area also spending their days merrily demanding even more from their families. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Edelweiss and Penguin Random House.