Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Mix It Up by Herve Tullet

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles whose release we are eagerly anticipating.

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet
Chronicle Books
Fall, 2014

I learned about this one earlier this month when Betsy Bird, over at Fuse #8, posted about the Chronicle Books Fall Preview. There is nothing about it in my usual online haunts or the Chronicle Books website so I swiped the image from the post. Pop on over there to read about it and all the other interesting upcoming Chronicle offerings.

I have both Tullet's Press Here and Presiona Aqui in my middle school collection and my students adore them proving once again, one is never too old for picture books. I have a feeling the art teacher will be all over this one.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Non-Fiction Monday: Discover More Titanic by Sean Callery

Discover More: Titanic by Sean Callery. 111p. Scholastic Discover More Series. Scholastic Inc., February, 2014. 9780545505123. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review.)

I must admit to sighing when I saw this entry in the Discover More series. I have really enjoyed the entries so far and asked myself, "Do I really need another Titanic book?" Interest in this disaster certainly ebbs and flows over the years I've been a school librarian. Some years, it seems I can't have enough and other years, what I do have languishes. Interestingly, circulation did not spike back in 2012, the centennial of the sinking.

The Discover More series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine as each entry consistently interests and pleases. Titanic is no different. A boatload of information is packed between the covers. Everything from the rivalry between transatlantic ocean lines to the reasons why people immigrated to America to the nitty-gritty of the construction of the Titanic and more, all accompanied by fascinating drawings and photographs. Side bars provide additional resources, mini-glossaries and suggestions of places to visit and people to look up. Each chapter asks the reader to ponder questions and then provides evidence but allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. The bonus E-book contains five survival stories. 

This would be good for report writers and perfect for your fact hounds to devour for its many bits of trivia and wonder.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Memes: Mira in the Present Tense by Sita Brahmachari

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Mira in the Present Tense by Sita Brahmachari. 284 p. Albert Whitman & Company, September, 2013. 9780807551493.

Publisher synopsis: Twelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic, and outspoken family in which it's not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie's health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her and also starts to keep some of her own. She is drawn to mysterious Jide, a boy who is clearly hiding a troubled past. As Mira is experiencing grief for the first time, she is also discovering the wondrous and often mystical world around her. An incredibly insightful, honest novel exploring the delicate balance--and often injustice--of life and death. But at its heart, it's a celebration of friendship, culture--and life.

First line: I have an ache in the pit of my belly, and a metal taste in my mouth, the kind that comes up just before you puke.

Page 56: It's like he belonged. Watching Krish standing there did feel like a historic occasion in our family, even though they announced the winner to be someone else..."Chris Levenson."

It was then that I saw Graddad Bimal hoist himself out of the car and walk very slowly over to the trailer where the man was chattering away on a loudspeaker. The next thing I heard was Loudspeaker Man's voice.

"I have an apology to make..."

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Bunny in the Ballet by Robert Beck

A Bunny in the Ballet by Robert Beck. unpgd. Scholastic Inc., January, 2014. 9780545429306. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review.)

Robert Beck, former principal dancer, dance company founder and owner of a rabbit named Déserée, makes his children's book debut with this frothy confection about pursuing one's dreams.

Déserée the bunny wants nothing more than to join a ballet company and dance her heart out. She's all music and movement and splits too, in her room but when she sets out to join a company, Madame Molotov is not very welcoming. "There are no bunnies in the ballet." Mr. Cloud is more welcoming. Even though she's the only student in pink dance clothes, thanks to Madame, she's an able and enthusiastic pupil.

The ink and watercolor illustrations are splashes of color and line, little detail and more evocative of movement. Déserée is an adorable bundle of lines who morphs a bit curiously when she dons a tutu. I'm not sure if this one has the muscle to compete with the plethora of books out there for balletophiles, but if one has a reader who can't get enough of them, Déserée's story is sure to please.

Non-Fiction Monday: Mysterious Patterns: finding fractals in nature by Sarah C. Campbell

Mysterious Patterns: finding fractals in nature by Sarah C. Campbell. Photographs by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell. 32 p. Boyds Mills Press, April 1, 2014. 9781620916278. (Finished copy provided by publisher for review.)

The concept of fractals is explained here in simple text accompanied by brilliant photographs of shapes in nature that are considered fractals and shapes that are not. Perfect for the visual learner and/ or math-phobe. Math teachers ought to consider using this to introduce the concept. The volume concludes with an invitation to create your own fractal and an Afterword by Michael Frame, a colleague of Benoit Mandelbrot, who posits that an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter's is theoretically possible thanks to fractals.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

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

Won: Wow! I hardly ever win anything but I won this courtesy of Chronicle Books via Fuse#8. Thank you!

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern. 220 p. Chronicle Books LLC, May 6, 2014. 

Publisher synopsis: As befits a future President of the United States of America, Maggie Mayfield has decided to write a memoir of the past year of her life. And what a banner year it's been! During this period she's Student of the Month on a regular basis, an official shareholder of Coca-Cola stock, and defending Science Fair champion. Most importantly, though, this is the year Maggie has to pull up her bootstraps (the family motto) and finally learn why her cool-dude dad is in a wheelchair, no matter how scary that is. Author Megan Jean Sovern, herself the daughter of a dad with multiple sclerosis, writes with the funny grace and assured prose of a new literary star. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson. 112 p. Dial, January, 2014. 9780803733046.

Publisher synopsis: A powerful and thought-provoking Civil Rights era memoir from one of America’s most celebrated poets.
Looking back on her childhood in the 1950s, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells the story of her development as an artist and young woman through fifty eye-opening poems. Readers are given an intimate portrait of her growing self-awareness and artistic inspiration along with a larger view of the world around her: racial tensions, the Cold War era, and the first stirrings of the feminist movement.
A first-person account of African-American history, this is a book to study, discuss, and treasure.

Ms. Nelson's poetry almost always affects me deeply. I am a huge fan of her work. I'm also hoping that this will be a unique and compelling addition to our memoir collection for an eighth grade unit.

Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater. (Spirit Animals #2) Unabridged audiobook on 5 compact discs, 5 hours, 16 minutes. Read by Nicola Barber. Scholastic Inc., January, 2014. 9780545648745. 

Publisher synopsis: 
In the world of Erdas, only a rare few are able to summon a spirit animal in the way Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan have. The bond they share with their animals is a partnership that allows them to access more-than-human abilities.

But what if there was another way to create a spirit animal--to force the bond, giving the human partner total control? And what if someone with selfish intensions was offered this gift . . . with a catch?
The four young heroes have barely had time to come together as a team, and their own spirit animal bonds are still greatly untested. But now they face a brutal confrontation against an enemy who will break any rule to defeat them.
I recently received the third book in this series to review. I really don't like jumping into the middle of any series, so-o, I am playing catch-up. It's enjoyable though.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Big Pigs by Leslie Helakoski

Big Pigs by Leslie Helakoski. unpgd. Boyds Mills Press, April 1, 2014. 9781620910238. (Finished copy courtesy of the publisher for review.)

Playfully piggish and occasionally alliterative, this is a cute story about three little pigs who are out to prove they are the biggest pigs ever. They squeeze under the fence and make mayhem in the vegetable garden. Once the veggies are all gone, they discover lots of mud for flopping and plopping in the oozy mud. Upon returning home however, Mama pig demands to know who's responsible for all that piggish behavior. The pigs think that they're in trouble until Mama reveals how proud she is of her little pigs.

The illustrations are done in acrylics. The palette is a bit muted. The pigs are definitely of the cartoon variety and each sports a splatter of mud. Should make for some story time fun.