Ridin' Dinos with Buck Bronco

Ridin’ Dinos with Buck Bronco by George McClements.

Take the popularity of dinosaurs and combine it with cowboys and you have this book!  After Buck Bronco found some strange eggs in his field, he became a dinosaur authority.  And he rides his dinos.  Readers get a quick lesson in selecting a mount, saddling them, and the various types of riding.  Buck also teaches about how to feed and care for your dinosaur. 

The text of this picture book is written all in western twang, so make sure to hitch up your britches and get your tongue loosened up and dancin’.  It is great fun to read aloud.  The illustrations are paper art that will have children clamoring to look at them.  The details are not tiny, so the book will work well with a group of children.

I’d highly recommend this for any dinosaur storytime or unit.  Some of the humor may be a little much for preschoolers, but 5 and 6 year olds should enjoy it immensely.  Yee haw!

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper.

Sparrow has a lot in her life that she doesn’t want other people to know.  She just wants to be “normal”.  But that’s not so easy for a teen who sees and communicates with ghosts.  Sparrow’s family are all mediums and they live in a small community called Lily Dale where everyone is a psychic.  But Sparrow rejects all of that and heads out to a different school to start afresh.  Even though she can communicate with the dead, she has never told anyone in her family about it.  Sparrow has been living a lie for her entire life, and now she has headed out of the small community and into a larger world where her life of lies will be tested.  On her very first day at the “normal” school, Sparrow meets a teenage ghost who will not accept her refusal to help.

What a fun romp of a book!  Combine ghosts, psychic ability and teen angst and how can you go wrong?  Harper writes the book with a light hand and lots of humor.  The pacing is pleasant with enough time to explore Sparrow’s world but no dragging or plodding.  Sparrow is a great character filled with self doubt, cynicism and lots of sarcasm.   I particularly enjoy the universal message of self acceptance and learning to life your own life.  It is not an overbearing theme, rather it is inherent in the book. 

This book will fly off of shelves and offers a light read with a lot of fun and a some depth to it.  Highly recommended for tweens and teens alike.