Archive for April, 2013

Magicalamity by Kate Saunders

MagicalamityFinally, after a long winter of dissatisfying-to-outright-bad novels, a DELIGHTFUL new fantasy has appeared!

Tom is used to living his ordinary (but happy) life with his parents, running their deli and hanging out with his friend Charlie. One day, though he awakens to a shocking discovery: his father is a fairy. A real, live, MAGICAL fairy. Which means that, he, Tom is a demisprite: demisprites are illegal, and the fairy authorities are trying to find Tom and his family to arrest and even execute them!

Tom’s father goes on the run, Tom’s mother is hidden somewhere (hilariously) magical, and Tom himself is spirited away by his surprisingly non-fairy-like godmother, Lorna Mustard, the owner of a scrapyard in Scotland. In the course of just a few days, Tom is introduced to his other (even more non-fairy-like) godmothers, his unexpected cousin Pindar, a number of revolutionary genies, and the hottest new fairy rock star (singer of the smash hit: Old Fairies Suck).

That might be enough to overwhelm an ordinary person, but Tom’s not ordinary (and neither are his friends) and he plans to rescue his family if it’s the last thing he does–even if it means that he has to completely change fairy society.

This book is a delightful romp full of truly original moments and laugh-out-loud characters, and it’s impossible to read it without a huge smile on one’s face. I enjoyed Kate Saunders’ last book, Beswitched, but I LOVED this one, and I hope all of you will, too.

Posted by: Sarah

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Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

Kelly shares a sweet–and true!–animal tale: Douwlina: A Rhino’s Story, by Grace Borgeson.

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Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Eileen shares the book Body Actions, by Shelley Rotner, a great choice for those days when it’s just beginning to be warm enough to get outside and move our bodies!

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Marty McGuire Digs Worms! by Kate Messner

Marty McGuire Digs Worms!Marty McGuire’s 3rd grade class room is charged with a very important task: create a Save the Earth Project. Marty is inspired – she and her best friend Annie have long admired natural scientists Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, and they often go into the woods behind Marty’s house and pretend to be studying gorillas and chimpanzees themselves. Now they have a chance to really make a difference!

With the help of Marty’s Grandma Barb the girls come up with an idea that will help reduce food waste at their school cafeteria: create a worm composting bin! Marty is very confident that their project will make an impact, and talks up the worms to her classmates so everyone is very excited to feed the worms all their crusts, green beans, and leftover bits of tuna fish sandwiches. But there’s a problem: the worms can only eat a little bit at a time; and certain foods, like meat or tuna fish, shouldn’t enter their habitat. Marty knows these things, but she also doesn’t want to let down her classmates, who are all clamoring for a chance to feed the worms. When Marty lets the worms’ habitat become inhospitable because she wants to please her classmates, the worms escape, and she is forced to reassess her plan. Marty and Annie come up with a solution to their worm problem, and ultimately their project is a success. Marty learns that change takes time, and that often you must be patient in order to see your ideas come to fruition. She also learns that taking responsibility for something takes planning, problem-solving, and courage.

Marty McGuire is an excellent book for kids transitioning into reading chapter books – the chapters are fairly short, and the book is dotted with black and white illustrations by Brian Floca which, with humor and expression, perfectly capture the different characters of the book. Marty McGuire Digs Worms! is an amusing and realistic look at the world of a 3rd grade classroom – Marty is a likable character, as are her patient teacher Mrs. Aloi, wacky Grandma Barb, and her loyal friend Annie. This would make a great read-aloud for a classroom – just in time for Earth Day! It can be read as the sequel to Messner’s book Marty McGuire, but it also stands on its own.

Posted by: Parry

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Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon

Penguin and PineconeA young penguin discovers a cold pinecone and knits him a scarf. Even though he loves his new friend, he returns it to the forest where he belongs. He tells the pinecone that he will always be in his heart. Penguin continues to think about the pinecone and wonder if he has grown big and strong. He eventually returns to visit it. When he does, he discovers that his pinecone is still wearing the scarf and has grown into a tree. This is a sweet story about love and caring for others.

Posted by: Liz

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Oh No, Little Dragon! By Jim Averbeck

Oh No, Little Dragon!Little dragon is one amazing fire breather until one day, during a particularly splash-filled bath, he accidentally douses his spark. When his flame goes out, Little Dragon fears that his mother will no longer love him, so he does what any resourceful dragon would do and tries to reignite that spark through various warming methods including rubbing his belly, putting on lots of warm clothes, and eating super-hot peppers. Nothing seems to work, however, and Little Dragon has no choice but to tell his mother what has happened. Little Dragon is relieved to find that his mother still loves him even without his flame. Then, to his surprise, he notices something warm in his belly. Could it be that his mother’s love has reignited the spark?

This adorable tale of unconditional love is told through bold yet simple illustrations of a bright blue Little Dragon set against a black and white background. Realistic images of Little Dragon’s flame, chili peppers, and a few other items are sprinkled throughout, adding a lively contrast to the charming dragon. Little Dragon’s exuberance and silliness provide balance and freshness for the familiar subject matter of motherly love, making this a fun read-aloud for parents of children in preschool through second grade.

Posted by: Staci

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Baby A B C by Deborah Donenfeld

Baby A B CAt the time of this writing, I am the proud new mother of a two week old boy. As a Librarian and lover of children’s literature, one of the things I most looked forward to when becoming a parent was reading to my child. Now, those who have experienced a two week old probably are aware that their eye sight is not completely developed and many babies find too much talking and interacting overwhelming; my baby certainly does. But, as I know from my education, it is never too early to start introducing books to children. When we share books, my baby seems to be able to look at one page and then needs to look away. However, there is one book in our library that engaged him even in his first week and that is Deborah Donenfeld’s Baby A B C.

This board book features crisp black and white photos of babies coupled with a primary colored letter and an object that starts with that letter. The primarily black and white photos with strong focus on the babies’ faces coupled with pops of color are the perfect combination for an infant’s developing eye sight. This book, while very simplistic, is a strong choice to share during the first two years of a child’s life. The babies featured in the book are adorable and children and parents alike will enjoy looking at them many times. The letters are presented clearly and perfect for children learning to recognize print. And for older toddlers, the objects featured on each page are ideal pairs for teaching initial sounds.

Posted by: Kelly

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Here Comes Trouble! by Corinne Demas

Here Comes Trouble!Sometimes your bad reputation precedes you, and it doesn’t matter what you do – you will be the one to get in trouble every time! That is exactly what happens in Here Comes Trouble! Our main character, Toby the dog, does not like cats – not slinky cats or spunky cats or snooty cats or snobby cats – not ANY cats. He thinks cats can just do whatever they want and NEVER get in trouble, including the cat who lives next door. Toby on the other hand gets into plenty of trouble and always seem be getting caught.

When the neighbor cat Pandora comes to stay and everyone thinks she is simply perfect, Toby knows better. He sees when she scratches up the sofa, and when she claws the curtains, and when she leaps up on the kitchen counter and samples the cake and simply prances off licking her whiskers. The trouble is, no one else ever notices, and so when Pandora gets herself into real trouble by climbing up a tree and getting stuck, Toby is the only one who can come to her rescue. He tries to bark to tell someone, but they just tell him to be quiet; he tries to run circles around the tree to get them to notice, but they just tell him to slow down. Finally Toby must use his muddy paws to write the message “CAT IN TREE”, which finally brings help running. In the end, Toby and Pandora find a way to be friends, and to get into trouble TOGETHER, which is always much more fun. This is a very fun read!

Posted by: Mary

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Little Croc’s Purse by Lizzie Finlay

Little Croc's PurseTo be honest, it was the colorful cover depicting a cute little green crocodile carrying an oversized flowery change purse that first caught my eye. Upon further inspection, it was the delightful illustrations within Little Croc’s Purse, as well as the story itself, that continued to keep me smiling.

What would you do if you found someone’s purse and it was full of money? Would you keep the money to buy yourself something special? Would you share some of the money with your friends? Would you give the money to someone needy? Would you turn the purse over to police who could hopefully track down its owner?

Little Croc has found a purse full of money and is faced with the dilemma of what to do. His friends (as well as the local bully) try to convince him of how he should best use his sudden windfall. But he knows what the right thing to do is and his conscience guides him in making his decision to turn the purse over to the police. When the owner is found, she is so happy to find her most precious treasure hidden inside the lining of her purse that she gives Little Croc a generous reward. Little Croc is gobsmacked at her generosity. What he does next is just perfect.

What a sweet treasure to discover hidden within the “lining” of this book. Honesty, sharing and giving – we all sometimes can use a reminder about these values.

Posted by: Wendy

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