Saturday, January 19, 2019

Review: Weird Animals by Mary Kay Carson

Weird Animals by Mary Kay Carson. 24 p. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., January, 2019. 9781354929673. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Sometimes, readers want just the facts. There may be no patience or desire for flowing narrative nonfiction. Enter expository nonfiction to explain and describe in an appealing manner. 

Weird Animals does just that beginning with its intriguing, even humorous cover. The end-pages continue to pique interest with close-ups of two unusual animals peering right out of the book. A short introduction explains the "why behind the weird," followed by a page explaining the layout of each entry. Each begins with a series of questions in which certain words are color coded green, blue and red. A crisp, clear, full-color photo of the animal is centered on the page with three color-coded sentences arranged around the photo. A yellow box at the bottom of each page provides the animal type, scientific name, size and habitat. A few, such as the Red-Lipped Batfish (who adorns the cover) and Pink Fairy Armadillo, get double-page spreads. All are fascinating and may be just the ticket to inspire young zoologists. 

A glossary and index are the only backmatter. Suggestions for further reading or relevant websites might have added research value. Small quibble. Younger readers will be entranced by these unusual animals and will want to share with friends. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Fact Friday: Death Eaters: meet nature's scavengers by Kelly Milner Halls

Death Eaters: meet nature's scavengers by Kelly Milner Halls. 40 p. Millbrook Press/ Lerner Publishing Group, August, 2018. 9781512482003. (Review of purchased finished copy.)

If the title doesn't lure readers, the enticingly repulsive cover is nearly impossible to resist. This informative volume will provide your fact hounds with everything they want to know about the science of decomposition and the animals that help in the process and thrive on it. I never knew that sea gulls' ease in finding garbage to eat at waterways have impacted their role as scavenger!  Also surprising was the ripple effect caused by India trying to eradicate vultures resulting in a spike in the population of feral dogs. I think I'd prefer the vultures. Ever since learning about Bio-urns, I have wanted an eco-friendly burial. Now, I want to be buried at sea. Definitely looking into that!

Conversational in tone, the fascinating text is accompanied by equally fascinating full-color photos served with a side of gross. Backmatter includes a glossary, source notes, books, websites and videos for further reading and an index.

Display this prominently and it won't sit! A delightful addition to the STEM collection!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

#tbt: Alanna: the adventure begins by Tamora Pierce

Alanna: the first adventure by Tamora Pierce. Song of the Lioness series #1. 210 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Reissue edition September, 2014. Originally published in 1983. 9781481439589.

Twelve-year-old Alanna of Trebond wants nothing more than to be a knight. But girls are not knights. She convinces her twin, Thom, to help her become Alan and keep her secret.  

A student recommended this book to me some thirteen or fourteen years ago. I loved it and went on to read the rest of the quartet and most of the companion quartets. The world building is vivid and the characters are memorable. I highly recommend this author to my fans of fantasy. 

The author wrote a prequel of sorts that is a new series beginner. The book is called Tempest and Slaughter and I am currently reading it with my ears.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: There's Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

There's Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon. 384 p. Simon Pulse, May 14, 2019. 9781534416789.

Publisher synopsis: Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so...sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other? 

I adored When Dimple Met Rishi! I really got a kick out of Ashish and am thrilled that he's getting his own book! Thanks to Crissi Reads for the heads up on this and nine other new releases of 2019. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Teen Tuesday and audio review: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. Unabridged e-audiobook. ~8hours. Narrated by Yetide Badaki. Tantor Audio, 2018. 9781977322425. (Review of e-audiobook borrowed from public library. Own hard cover edition.)

Teen Tuesday features Okata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. This fantastic fantasy is set in Nigeria and its worldbuilding is so vivid, its characters are so engaging, you will not want to leave it. Twelve-year-old Sunny was born in America but has been living in Nigeria for the past three years. She doesn't feel like she fits in anywhere and the fact that she's an albino makes her a target for bullies. Her life begins to change when she meets Orlu, Chichi and Sasha, who introduce her to the Leopard People and help her develop her magic. 

I've had the hardcover since its publication but am so glad that I got to it on audio. The narration was perfectly paced, melodious and certainly added depth to the already epic story. I can't find the sequel, Akata Warrior on audio, so I will be reading that with my eyes soon, with Badaki's voice in my head. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Middle Grade Monday: Dog Man Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey

Dog Man Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey. Dog Man series #6. 224 p. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc., December, 2018. 9781338236576. (Review from purchased finished copy.)

Dog Man is back in book #6 and he's in trouble! A trio of flea bad guys have framed Dog Man for a robbery and now he's in doggie prison where he is shunned because he's not dog enough. Never fear, his loyal friends led by Cat Kid are on the case. As usual, the humor and gags come fast and furious along with the usual flip-o-rama segments. The palette is vibrant and energetic and even Petey is becoming endearing. Thankfully, this series shows no sign of flagging. I have two copies of each installment and the shelf where they live is usually empty. Keep 'em coming!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:
I must admit, the cover of this made me laugh out loud when I opened the package. It happened to be on a tough Wednesday afternoon.

Weird Animals by Mary Kay Carson. 26 p. Sterling Children's Books, January, 2019. 9781454929673.

Publisher synopsis: Slime-oozing slugs, red-lipped fish, spine-covered bugs, and tubed-nosed bats. These animals are weird-and AWESOME! But have you ever wondered why they look so strange? Find out!

Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen. 385 p. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., August, 2019. 9781338148473.

Publisher synopsis: Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people.

Where Birdie Lives written and illustrated by Elena Tsvetaeva. unpgd board book. Clever Publishing, January, 2019. 978194818003. 

Publisher synopsis: Perfect for toddlers who love to play as they read, this adorable interactive picture book is sure to entertain children and their parents! This heartwarming tale tells the readers about the quest of an endearing little puppy in search of a birdie. The young reader is challenged to solve a mystery and to look for a birdie under each flap, and then be delighted to find it at the very end. 
I actually read this with my ears back in October and found it almost unbearably suspenseful. So happy to have it for review. 

Purchased: I have started a shopping cart for my gift cards but have not hit send yet.

If you leave a comment, I will definitely stop by and try to comment back - unless commenters have to sign onto Discus or whatever that's called. But I will check out your stack!