Saturday, December 7, 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:
Image: HarperCollins Publishers

Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph. unpgd. Harper/ HarperCollins Publishers, December 3, 2019.9780062367266. 

Publisher synopsis: A heartwarming and poignant story from award-winning creator Rob Biddulph about the power of embracing your true colors. Perfect for fans of Peter Brown’s Tiger Goes Wild.

It’s a dog’s life in the big, busy city, but there's one lonely pup who doesn’t quite fit in. She behaves differently from the rest, sports rainbow in a sea of gray, and marches to the beat of her own drum.

She’s one Odd Dog.

Join Odd Dog as she journeys to the other side of the world to find her place in it, only for her to discover that maybe she’s meant to be right where she started.

Image: Simon & Schuster

We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan. 256 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster, February 25, 2020. 9781534445253.

Publisher synopsis: Shiloh meets Raymie Nightingale in this funny and heartwarming debut novel about a ten-year-old that finds himself in a whole mess of trouble when his new friend Maisie recruits him to save the dog next door.

Hank Hudson is in a bit of trouble. After an incident involving the boy’s bathroom and a terribly sad book his teacher is forcing them to read, Hank is left with a week’s suspension and a slightly charred hardcover—and, it turns out, the attention of new girl Maisie Huang.

Maisie has been on the lookout for a kid with the meatballs to help her with a very important mission: Saving her neighbor’s dog, Booler. Booler has seizures, and his owner, Mr. Jorgensen, keeps him tied to a tree all day and night because of them. It’s enough to make Hank even sadder than that book does—he has autism, and he knows what it’s like to be treated poorly because of something that makes you different.

But different is not less. And Hank is willing to get into even more trouble to prove it. Soon he and Maisie are lying, brown-nosing, baking, and cow milking all in the name of saving Booler—but not everything is as it seems. Booler might not be the only one who needs saving. And being a hero can look a lot like being a friend.

Purchased: Nothing!

If you leave a comment, leave the link to your stack. I will pop by and to check out your stack!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Fact Friday: The Great Shark Rescue: saving the whale sharks by Sandra Markle

Image: Lerner Publishing Group

The Great Shark Rescue:saving the whale sharks by Sandra Markle. 48 p.Millbrook Press/ Lerner Publishing Group, October, 2019. 9781541510418. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

Fact Friday features The Great Shark Rescue: saving the whale sharks by Sandra Markle. Did you know that whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean? Yes, whales are larger, but whales are mammals. There isn't a lot known about the secretive whale shark though. Scientists are using new technologies to track these endangered creatures who are threatened by climate change, fishing nets and poaching. This new entry in the Science Discovery series is beautifully designed and brims with full-color photos and charts to illustrated Markle's cogent storytelling. The volume ends with a page devoted to Great White Sharks, which were labeled as vulnerable in 2017. Back matter includes an author's note; timeline; source notes; glossary; and three books and four websites for further reading.

If you love animals, science, or learning about conservation efforts, The Great Shark Rescue is the book for you. This series really is a first-purchase for any school or public library.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

#tbt: Frindle by Andrew Clements

Image: Simon & Schuster

Frindle by Andrew Clements. 112 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster, October, 1996. 9780689806698.

#tbt honors the memory of author, Andrew Clements, who died on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 70. Mr. Clements started his working life as a teacher but had interests in music as well. He shifted to the world of publishing as an editor, but soon began writing picture books and middle grade and YA novels. He had a special talent for school drama and spot-on tween and teen dialogue. A TMS favorite is Frindle, which published in 1996. Frindle is about a boy named Nicholas who challenged his teacher by insisting that he could rename a pen, frindle and that, it would be added to the dictionary because language changes according to usage.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Books Make Great Holiday Gifts! Candlewick Press Can Help!

Well, it's that time of year again! Actually, it has been for a little while. Once Thanksgiving Day passes, it's kind of hard to deny. I'm the "Book Aunt." My nephews and lone niece always received cash stuck in a brand new book at our annual family holiday gathering. I never thought too much about what they thought or whether they read the books I gave. Apparently, they did and looked forward to receiving them. 

If you are shopping for holiday gifts, books make great gifts! You have plenty of end-of-year "Best" lists to consult for possibilities. Boxed sets of books make for a great gift as well! Candlewick Press has redesigned the cover of Raymie Nightingale to match the gorgeous covers of Louisiana's Way Home and Beverly, Right Here. The Three Rancheros books nestle in a sturdy three-sided box that will look lovely on any book shelf. Another advantage of giving boxed sets is your gift recipient need not wait to continue on to the next book!

Image: Candlewick Press
I read but did not review Raymie Nightingale, which was a National Book Award Finalist, when it published back in 2016. I adored Louisiana's Way Home in July of 2018 and reviewed it here. A year later, I fell in love all over again with Beverly, Right Here. DiCamillo is a fearless writer who excels in spare writing that captures the emotional landscape of outsiders and the overlooked. 

Waiting on Wednesday: On the Horizon by Lois Lowry

Image: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry. 80 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 20, 2020. 9780358129400.

Publisher synopsis: Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this stunning work in verse for young readers.

On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Based on the lives of soldiers at Pearl Harbor and civilians in Hiroshima, On the Horizon contemplates humanity and war through verse that sings with pain, truth, and the importance of bridging cultural divides. This masterful work emphasizes empathy and understanding in search of commonality and friendship, vital lessons for students as well as citizens of today’s world. Kenard Pak’s stunning illustrations depict real-life people, places, and events, making for an incredibly vivid return to our collective past.


In turns haunting, heartbreaking, and uplifting, On the Horizon will remind readers of the horrors and heroism in our past, as well as offer hope for our future.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Image: Penguin Random House

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys. Unabridged audiobook on ten compact discs. ~ 12.5 hours. Read by Maite Jáuregui with five others; author's note read by the author. Listening Library/ Penguin Audio, October, 2019. (Review of audiobook borrowed from the public library.)


Teen Tuesday features The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys. Weighing in at over 400 pages, this historical fiction set in 1957, Franco-ruled Spain will require a patient reader. Fans of the author's Between Shades of Gray and its companion, Salt to the Sea, know to expect - intriguing characters, lovely writing and meticulous research into lesser known historical events. 

The Fountains of Silence is all about secrets. Seventeen-year-old Daniel Matheson, visiting from Texas with his parents has them. His parents have a few themselves. But it is Ana, who works as a maid at the American hotel Daniel is staying at who has the most to lose if her secrets are revealed and she has been receiving threatening notes. The world did not know what life was like for citizens of Spain under the dictatorship of Franco, especially if they had opposed his rule as Ana's parents had. American tourists experienced only the lush beauty of Spain. But Daniel, a budding photojournalist observed something deeper and attempted to capture those moments with his photographs - an act that could mark him with danger. This layered and complex novel is slow to unfold, but is harrowing and beautifully told. A lengthy author's note, read by the author provides insight into the story and and the time period.

I enjoyed this narration. Whenever there are bits of another language sprinkled into a narrative, I prefer to read with my ears to experience fluent speakers. The narration was measured and nearly unbearably slow. New-to-me narrator, Maite Jáuregui spoke English well, but had a curiously inconsistent way of pronouncing some words. I was listening in my car, so didn't make notes; but hotel was one that stuck out for me. Sometimes it was "ho-TELL," and sometimes it was "ho-till." I found it quite distracting. Once the secrets began to unfold and the suspense built, I was less aware of them. 

I was fully immersed in the first part of the book. Then, the story flashes forward eighteen years. Though I loved it, it felt rushed and a tad incomplete. I guess I didn't want to leave the characters just yet, even after 12.5 hours of listening (or over 400 pages if reading.) Also, I could stare at that gorgeous cover forever.

I'm in a middle school. Though I usually have at least one advanced, mature and eclectic reader each year, I am not sure that a middle school student is the audience for this book. Definitely a must-read for high schools. I also anticipate hearing the title announced come awards time. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Middle Grade Monday: Crush by Svetlana Chmakova

Image: Yen Press

Crush by Svetlana Chmakova. Berrybrook Middle School series #3. 240 p. JY/ Yen Press, October, 2019. 9780316363235. (Review of purchased finished copy.)

Middle Grade Monday features Crush by Svetlana Chmakova. Fans of Chamakova's middle grade debut, Awkward and its sequel, Brave will be thrilled to return to Berrybrook Middle School. Crush focuses on Jorge. He's probably the biggest kid in school and his size can be intimidating; but he's also the sweetest person ever. He uses his size for good and is happy hanging with his two best friends. Lately though, when he crosses paths with a certain girl, he finds he's a bit off his game. Add to that, a shifting dynamic between the boys and you've got plenty of authentic middle school drama. Fans will eagerly await another installment of The Berrybrook Middle School series.

This endearing series is just getting better with each book! Jorge is a great character. The dialogue is spot on. The art is energetic and colorful. And the issues are relatable. I hope the series continues.

Crush is a first purchase! Multiple copies will be necessary to keep up with demand.