Archive for July, 2009

Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Boo-Hoo Bird

Bonk…bird is back. This time he has a bump on his head. While playing catch with raccoon, he accidently gets bumped on the head and starts to cry. Nothing seems to cheer him up. Not even a cookie will help. In the end, all he needs is a good cry with friends. This is another winner from Jeremy Tankard.

Posted by: Liz

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After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

After Tupac and D. FosterTwo girls in Queens, New York who are best friends become friends with a girl who just shows up on their block one day. They all like jumping rope and they like to listen to Tupac Shakur’s music. The original friends are sheltered and loved. They are not even allowed off the block unless Neeka’s older brother goes with them. The newcomer is a foster child and her foster mother lets her roam as long as she is home by 9 p.m. The three spend all their time together for a year but don’t learn much about D really. She knows their families and she spends time in their houses but she always has to get on the bus eventually and go back to her foster mother. She dreams of a time when her mother will come and take her back.

Neeka has a large family and during this period her oldest brother who is gay ends up in jail, the result of a bad judgment in character. He became involved with someone he thought loved him but the guy was a dangerous person. His family visits him every week until he is released. He is funny and warm and knows exactly who he is and accepts himself. His family loves him and accepts him, too. Neeka’s other brother, the one who keeps an eye on the girls, is an athelete and is hoping to get a scholarship in basketball.

This book is about girls living in the inner city, their thoughts, feelings, interests and relationships as they grow from children into young ladies. It reflects a sweet acceptance of people and circumstances and celebrates the importance of family and friendships.

Posted by: Fran W.

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Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

Thirteenth ChildI was a little nervous when I picked this book up. I am not generally a fan of books that are set in a wild west type frontier. But I have to say that this book rocked. It tells about a world where magic is real, but it is much like the Wild West, frontier time. The story centers around Eff. Eff is a 13th child, the twin of a 7th son of a 7th son (meaning she is horribly unlucky, while her twin brother is horribly lucky…..supposedly). Her father takes a teaching position on the edge of the frontier where no one knows what Eff is. There is adventure, scandal, humor, and fun all packed into this book. This is such a spellbinding book that I could not put it down. Eff is a great character and the setting is fascinating. I hope she will write more in this universe. This is a great read for fantasy lovers.

Posted by: Kate

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Tadpole by Ruth White

TadpoleWhat does a boy playing a guitar and singing have to do with tadpoles? Well, it’s his nickname, but you’ll have to read this story about coming of age in 1955 Appalachia to find out why he was called Tadpole. You might also enjoy the naming trend in his cousin’s family. The four sisters are named Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, and Georgia. Carolina, the runt of the family, tells us about Tadpole’s cruel uncle and guardian and about the fun times the cousins have together in spite of their money problems. The interesting characters and mountain dialect add to the southern charm of the story as the family works together to solve a variety of problems.

Posted by: Iris

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I Don’t Want a Posh Dog! By Emma Dodd

I Don't Want a Posh DogEvery year lots of kids come into the library looking for information on certain types of dogs that they hope to get in the future — dogs that would be just right for kids or dogs that don’t shed too much or dogs that . . . . SO it’s nice to get down to the TRULY IMPORTANT qualities that kids are really looking for in a dog. The main character in our story, a very cute little girl is very clear on the type of dog she is looking for: NOT a bouncy dog – a jump-up-and-pounce-me dog; NOT a snooty dog, a fancy, attitudey dog. She does NOT want a speedy dog, a greedy, pleady, needy dog. She DOES however want a silly dog, a sweet willy-nilly dog and a not-too-proud or loud dog, a know-me-in-the-crowd dog. This really clever rhyming book describes to a tee her type of dog. There are fun illustrations, and the reader will recognize those dogs we all know and love (or not so much). What a fun book to read anytime, but definitely if you are thinking about getting a new dog.

Posted by: Mary

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The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm by Paul Bright

The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big StormHow the wind blew! How the thunder crashed! How the lightning flashed! One by one the little bears, who were so scared, tugged at Bear who was sleeping snug in bed. “There’s no such thing as monsters,” he assured them as he pulled back the cover and let them crawl into his bed.

Now Bear was wide awake hearing scary noises and seeing shadows on the wall that looked like monsters. Then there’s a RAT-TAT-TAT at the door. Who could be out so late at night?

Remember – there’s no such thing as monsters!!

Posted by: Wendy

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Ain’t Nothing But a Man by Scott Reynolds Nelson with Marc Aronson

Ain't Nothing But a ManIt all began with a postcard of the State Penitentiary in Richmond, VA circa 1910. It’s an unremarkable photograph in itself; several red brick buildings near train tracks stand near a single white house. But Scott Reynolds Nelson saw it as something more than that. He saw it as a clue—a clue to who the real John Henry of folktales and songs—was. It was proof that the legendary steel-driver existed. Readers will follow along with Nelson on his historical journey, and will be swept into the story thanks to the author’s enthusiasm and determination.

Ain’t Nothing But a Man follows Nelson’s search for the facts about John Henry based upon various stanzas of the song. Did he really exist? Could he really drive steel better than a machine? Was he buried at the White House? But the book is not just about the truth about John Henry; it details the search strategies Nelson used in his research. Seeing the postcard of the Penitentiary with all the red buildings and the one white one prompted Nelson to stop thinking Henry was buried at THE White House and instead think he was buried at A White House—like maybe the white house in the Penitentiary picture. That led him to think maybe John Henry had been a prisoner sent to work on blasting tunnels for the railroad. From there, Nelson chronicles the ins and outs of his search—including the dead ends and false starts that we all encounter on our road to research.

Nelson’s book contains photographs, postcards, maps and sketches that accompany his quest. The pictures help track his progress—one picture led him to a sketch which led him to a postcard which led him to a map. The parchment-colored pages and black and white pictures work well together to create an aura of post-Civil War America, while the narrative is concise, well-organized and very readable, for both non-historians and historians. Ain’t Nothing But a Man is based on Nelson’s adult book Steel Drivin’ Man: John Henry, the Untold Story of an American Legend (2006).

Posted by: Cindy

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