Monday, June 30, 2014

Taking Stock - June

Total posts: 21
Total books this month: 28
Total books this year: 177

Challenges:
Audio: 9/30
Debut: 1/4
Mount TBR: 0
Picture books: 8/ 45

The Good: Considering how busy I was what with the end-of-school-year-crazies, I did okay.

The Bad: Reviewing still suffered. Greatly. 

The books: * indicates a favorite
150. Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. The Mutant Mosquitoes From Mercury (Book 2) (6/1)
151. Kenny Wright Superhero by James Patterson and Chris Tebbits (6/3) 
152. Hello Moon by Francesca Simon (6/5) 
153. Cleopatra in Space Book 1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack (6/5)
154. Discover More: Birds by Penelope Arlon (6/6)
155. The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland (6/6)
156. A Pet for Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold (6/6)
157. The Tree House That Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg and Mark Teague (6/6)
158. Mighty Dads by Diane Holub (6/6)
159. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page (6/6)
160. The Magic School Bus Presents Sea Creatures (6/7)
161. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (6/8)*
162. Zoe's Jungle by Bethanie Deeney Murguia (6/11)
163. Naughty Kitty! by Adam Stower (6/11)
164. Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody (6/14)
165. The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney (6/15)
166. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner (6/15) (audio reread)*
167. Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan (6/16)
168. Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper (6/20)

Summer vacation counting - I told my students that I plan on reading 100 books this summer. That's 72 days to read 100.

169. (1) Formerly Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham (6/21)
170. (2) Ricky Ricotta's Robot vs. the Voodoo Vultures from Venus by Dav Pilkey (6/21)
171. (3) Ricky Ricotta's Robot vs. the Mecha-monkeys from Mars by Dav Pilkey (6/21)
172. (4) Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler (6/20)*
173. (5) The Time Hackers by Gary Paulsen (6/22)
174. (6) Sir Charlie: the funniest man in the world by Sid Fleischman (6/23)
175. (7) Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (6/24) (audio reread)
176. (8) Fire and Ice (Spirit Animals #4) by Shannon Hale (6/29)


177. (9) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #2) (6/30)*

Saturday, June 28, 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.

I posted this picture on my Facebook page,
with the caption, "A few of the 100 books I plan on reading this summer." FB friend Peter Lerangis tagged a few of the authors and I thought that was a great idea, so I tagged a couple more. Earlier this week, I went to school to bring my library jungle (plants) home for the summer and checked my mailbox. This is what I found with a note that read, "Hoping you'll add this to your 100 book summer reading":
The Paper Cowboy by Kirstin Levine. 333 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons/ Penguin Young Readers Group, September 4, 2014. 9780399163289.

Publisher synopsis: Though he thinks of himself as a cowboy, Tommy is really a bully.  He's always playing cruel jokes on classmates or stealing from the store. But Tommy has a reason: life at home is tough. His abusive mother isn't well; in fact, she may be mentally ill, and his sister, Mary Lou, is in the hospital badly burned from doing a chore it was really Tommy's turn to do. To make amends, Tommy takes over Mary Lou's paper route. But the paper route also becomes the perfect way for Tommy to investigate his neighbors after stumbling across a copy of The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper.
Tommy is shocked to learn that one of his neighbors could be a communist, and soon fear of a communist in this tight-knit community takes hold of everyone when Tommy uses the paper to frame a storeowner, Mr. McKenzie. As Mr. McKenzie's business slowly falls apart and Mary Lou doesn't seem to get any better, Tommy's mother's abuse gets worse causing Tommy's bullying to spiral out of control.
Poignantly written, Kristin Levine proves herself a master of gripping and affecting historical fiction.
I absolutely loved The Lions of Little Rock and The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had. Thanks Stacey Barney!

Somebody on This Bus is Going to be Famous by J.B. Cheaney. 296 p. Sourcebooks/ Jabberwocky, September 2, 2014. 9781402292972.

Publisher synopsis: Who's it going to be?
Spencer's the smart kid. Shelly's the diva. Miranda's the scaredy-cat. Matthew's just average (so far). In fact, there's nothing about any of the nine middle-schoolers on Mrs. B's bus route that screams "fame." But before the end of the year, somebody on this bus is going to be famous.
Every morning, their school bus waits at an empty bus stop. Nobody ever gets on. Nobody ever gets off.
And Mrs. B refuses to answer questions about it. Strangest of all, it's Bender the bully who decides to investigate the mystery. But it will take all nine students to find out the truth, for each of them has a clue to the mystery that will change their lives forever.
These next three are courtesy of Mary Brown, of Books, Bytes and Beyond, bookseller extraordinaire. Schools and libraries in NJ, consider ordering through her - amazing knowledge of children's literature, competitive prices and excellent service.
Gabriel Finley & the Raven's Riddle by George Hagen. 371 p. Schwartz & Wade Books/ Random House Children's Books, August 26, 2014. 9780385371056. 

Publisher synopsis: This fast-paced, exciting, and emotionally rich fantasy novel for middle graders reads like a cross between The Phantom Tollbooth and Harry Potter.
How can 11-year-old Gabriel find his missing father, who seems to have vanished without a trace? With the help of Paladin—a young raven with whom he has a magical bond that enables them to become one creature—he flies to the foreboding land of Aviopolis, where he must face a series of difficult challenges and unanswerable riddles that could lead to his father . . . or to his death.
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. 371 p. Dial Books/ Penguin Group (USA), September 16, 2014. 9780803734968. 

Publisher synopsis: A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant, fully alive novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once. 
I absolutely adored The Sky is Everywhere a few years back and am so looking forward to this. Thanks Mary!

What's new with you? Leave a link to your stack in the comments section.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles that we are eagerly awaiting.



Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan. Illustrated by John Rocco. 336 p. Disney-Hyperion, August 19, 2014. 9781423183648.

Publisher synopsis: A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.

So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic--and sarcastic asides--to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who's who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. "If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that."

Dramatic full-color illustrations throughout by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco make this volume--a must for home, library, and classroom shelves--as stunning as it is entertaining.

Of course. It isn't enough that tween fiction demigod Riordan has kids scurrying to the 292 section of the library to brush up on the myths. We all need Percy in there with his two cents. This is said with the utmost affection as I love what Riordan has done for middle grade reading. I'm especially looking forward to more of John Rocco's fabulous art. 


Saturday, June 21, 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.

So excited about this one! I featured it in a WoW post last week:


The Terminals by Royce Scott Buckingham. 278 p. Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin's Press, October 14, 2014. 9781250011558.

Publisher synopsis: In The Terminals, Royce Buckingham tells the riveting story of a covert team of young, terminally ill teens who spend their last year alive running dangerous missions as super-spies for an organization that may not be all it seems.
When 19 year-old Cam Cody is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he expects to spend the rest of his shortened life in an adjustable bed. Then one night, a mysterious man offers Cam one chance to join a covert unit of young “terminals.” They are like him, only they spend the last year of their lives executing exciting and dangerous missions to make the world a better place.
With nothing to lose, Cam is in.
A helicopter flies Cam to a secret tropical location, where he’s tossed out with a parachute and an instruction manual. After a rough landing, he meets his nine teammates. The other terminals don’t seem sick; Zara is beautiful, Donnie is an amazing athlete, and Calliope sings like a bird. He soon learns that they’re enhanced with an experimental super steroid TS-8, which suppresses their illnesses’ symptoms and heightens their physical and mental abilities. It’s also fatal if taken for more than a year.
Cam joins this extreme spy team, and they begin pulling dangerous operations in multiple countries. As his teammates fall around him, he starts to receive cryptic messages from a haggard survivor of last year’s class hiding in the forest. She reveals that the program isn’t what it seems, leading Cam to question whether any of them are really sick at all.
Mr. Buckingham's middle grade offerings, Demonkeeper and Goblins! are my go-to books for reluctant readers and/ or tweens who want scary. I am eager to read his YA debut.


Fire and Ice (Spirit Animals #4) by Shannon Hale. 185 p. Scholastic Inc., June 24, 2014. 9780545522465.

Publisher synopsis: (Back cover) Strange things are happening at the frozen edge of the world. Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan have crisscrossed Erdas in their quest to stop the ruthless Conquerors. Only the four of them, supported by the gifts of their legendary spirit animals, have the power to defeat an evil takeover.

While chasing down a lead in the cold north, the heroes arrive at a quiet village where not everything is as it seems. Rooting the truth out of this deceptively beautiful place won't be easy-and the team is already out of time.

The Conquerors are right behind them.


What's new with you? Leave your link in the comment section.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Memes - Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler

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

Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler. 229 p. Scholastic Inc., May, 2014. 9780545561419.

Publisher synopsis: In this middle-grade Bridesmaids, hilarity ensues as triplets have to stop a wedding!
One bride. Two boys. Three flower girls who won't forever hold their peace. What could go wrong with this wedding? Everything!
The Brewster triplets, Dawn, Darby, and Delaney, would usually spend their summer eating ice cream, playing with their dog, and reading about the US Presidents. But this year they're stuck planning their big sister Lily's wedding. Lily used to date Alex, who was fun and nice and played trivia games with the triplets, and no one's quite sure why they broke up. Burton, Lily's groom-to-be, is not nice or fun, and he looks like an armadillo.
The triplets can't stand to see Lily marry someone who's completely wrong for her, so it's up to them to stop the wedding before anyone says "I do!" The flower girls will stop at nothing to delay Lily's big day, but will sprinklers, a photo slideshow, a muddy dog, and some unexpected allies be enough to prevent their big sister - and the whole Brewster family - from living unhappily ever after?

First line: It was Delaney's idea that we ruin Lily's wedding.

Page 56: I chose a line from page 57 because I just loved it. "Forever's has their pies on display, and I always order the one that is least popular because I feel sorry for it."


Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - I Totally Funniest

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we are eagerly anticipating.

I Totally Funniest
by James Patterson and Chris Grabbenstein. Illustrated by Laura Park. I Funny series #3. 306 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, January 26, 2015. 9780316405935.

Publisher synopsis: Jamie Grimm is back and better than ever in the third episode of James Patterson's bestselling I FUNNY series. Finding himself one step closer to his dream of being the best kid comic in the world, Jamie faces his biggest challenge yet.
After scoring big on national TV in the semifinals contest, everyone back home is jumping on the Jamie Grimm bandwagon, and all the attention might be going to his head. Not only are his friendships starting to suffer, but the pressure of coming up with his best material ever for the ultimate standup act to snag the final win in Hollywood is pushing Jamie to the brink. Suddenly, life isn't looking very funny anymore. Can Jamie take the grand prize without pushing away his fans, friends and family?

This series and Patterson's Middle School series are enormously popular in my school.

What are you waiting on? Leave a link in the comment section and I'll check it out.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Non-fiction Monday: Before the World was Ready: stories of daring genius in science by Clair Eamer

Before the World was Ready: stories of daring genius in science by Clair Eamer. 124 p. Annick Press, July, 2013. 9781554515363. (Purchased.)

Ah! Outside of the box thinkers have such a tough row to hoe.  Under-appreciated at best, unappreciated by many and occasionally despised, ostracized, ignored or penalized. Really though, what is knowledge? It's tenuous, subject to change and should be challenged. Before the World was Ready presents eight scientists who challenged the status quo and paid a price. Meticulously researched and thoroughly entertaining, Ms. Eamer enlightens the reader about eight trailblazers of science but connects their ideas to others who came before or after. She also engagingly explains the historical context. The book is colorfully designed and the unusual yet humorous illustrations certain fit the theme of the book in that they were drawn with the artist's non-dominant hand. It would be an excellent addition to any collection. Show it to your science teachers and suggest it to not only to your science-minded students but also to students who don't love science. 



Saturday, June 14, 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.

For review:

Revolution by Deborah Wiles. (The Sixties Trilogy book 2) 544p. Scholastic Inc., May 27, 2014.  9780545106078.

Publisher synopsis: It's 1964, and Sunny's town is being invaded.  Or at least that's what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote.  They're calling it Freedom Summer.
Meanwhile, Sunny can't help but feel like her house is being invaded, too.  She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe.  And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool -- where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.
As she did in her groundbreaking documentary novel COUNTDOWN award-winning author Deborah Wiles uses stories and images to tell the riveting story of a certain time and place -- and of kids who, in a world where everyone is choosing sides, must figure out how to stand up for themselves and fight for what's right.

Fleabrain Loves Frannie by Joanne Rocklin. 280 p. Amulet Books/ Abrams, August 12, 2014. 9781419710681.

Publisher synopsis: This gem of a novel takes place in Pittsburgh in 1952. Franny Katzenback, while recovering from polio, reads and falls in love with the brand-new book Charlotte’s Web. Bored and lonely and yearning for a Charlotte of her own, Franny starts up a correspondence with an eloquent flea named Fleabrain who lives on her dog’s tail. While Franny struggles with physical therapy and feeling left out of her formerly active neighborhood life, Fleabrain is there to take her on adventures based on his extensive reading. It’s a touching, funny story set in the recent past, told with Rocklin’s signature wit and thoughtfulness.

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen. 352 p. Candlewick Press, September 9, 2014. 9780763660383.

Publisher synopsis: He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.
When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).
The Twyning by Terence Blacker. 432 p. Candlewick Press, September 9, 2014. 9780763669027.

Publisher synopsis: In a harsh and dangerous world, a rat and a boy must each choose their way as their fates become inextricably linked.
Efren is a young rat, unnoticed and timid among the kingdom of rats living in the London sewers. When the king dies, leaving the kingdom in upheaval, only Efren dares to journey into the human world, where he discovers a human doctor’s plan to destroy London’s entire rat population. Meanwhile, Peter, otherwise known as Dogboy, does odd jobs for both the scheming doctor and the town ratcatcher. But his gift for understanding animals — even rats — forces him to decide where his allegiances truly lie. Dogboy and Efren, along with the waifish girl Caz and her pet rat, Malaika, set out to test the strengths of friendship and loyalty against the gut-wrenching cruelties of the world.
Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail. 256 p. October 14, 2014. 9780763664039.

Publisher synopsis: A young Jewish pianist at Auschwitz, desperate to save her family, is chosen to play at the camp commandant’s house. How could she know she would fall in love with the wrong boy?
"Look after each other . . . and get home safe. And when you do, tell everyone what you saw and what they did to us."
These are Hanna’s father’s parting words to her and her sister when their family is separated at the gates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Her father’s words — and a black C-sharp piano key hidden away in the folds of her dress — are all that she has left to remind her of life before. Before, Hanna was going to be a famous concert pianist. She was going to wear her yellow dress to a dance. And she was going to dance with a boy. But then the Nazis came. Now it is up to Hanna to do all she can to keep her mother and sister alive, even if that means playing piano for the commandant and his guests. Staying alive isn’t supposed to include falling in love with the commandant’s son. But Karl Jager is beautiful, and his aloofness belies a secret. And war makes you do dangerous things.
Eyes Wide Open: going behind environmental headlines by Paul Fleischman. 208 p. Candlewick Press, September 23, 2014. 9780763675455.

Publisher synopsis: We're living in an Ah-Ha moment. Take 250 years of human ingenuity. Add abundant fossil fuels. The result: a population and lifestyle never before seen. The downsides weren't visible for centuries, but now they are. Suddenly everything needs rethinking – suburbs, cars, fast food, cheap prices. It's a changed world.
This book explains it. Not with isolated facts, but the principles driving attitudes and events, from vested interests to denial to big-country syndrome. Because money is as important as molecules in the environment, science is joined with politics, history, and psychology to provide the briefing needed to comprehend the 21st century.
Extensive back matter, including a glossary, bibliography, and index, as well as numerous references to websites, provides further resources.
What's new with you? Leave a link to your stack in the comments section and I'll come visit.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Memes - Revolution by Deborah Wiles

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

Revolution by Deborah Wiles. (The Sixties Triology, book 2) 544 p. Scholastic Inc., May, 2014. 9780545106078. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review)

Publisher synopsis: It's 1964, and Sunny's town is being invaded.  Or at least that's what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote.  They're calling it Freedom Summer.
Meanwhile, Sunny can't help but feel like her house is being invaded, too.  She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe.  And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool -- where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.
As she did in her groundbreaking documentary novel COUNTDOWN award-winning author Deborah Wiles uses stories and images to tell the riveting story of a certain time and place -- and of kids who, in a world where everyone is choosing sides, must figure out how to stand up for themselves and fight for what's right.

First line: Well, this is a documentary novel so, the first 40 pages are "documents," such as photos and poems and quotes and news bits. The book opens with Langston Hughes' poem, I, Too Sing America. The first line of text, on page 41 is, "The first thing we do, me and Gillette, is make sure everybody is asleep."

Page 56: "Deputy Davis twitches his mouth into that tsk sound he always makes before he converses. "What are you two doing out here in the middle of the night?""

I really enjoyed, Countdown, book 1 of the trilogy. The unique structure adds to the enjoyment. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Naughty Kitty! by Adam Stower

Naughty Kitty! by Adam Stower. unpgd. Orchard Books/ Scholastic Inc., May, 2014. 9780545576048. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review)

Poor Lily! She really wanted a dog for a pet, but her mom vetoed that on the grounds that dogs were "too messy, too smelly, and far too much trouble." Enter Kitty, a smudgy, stripey kitten who looks none too happy himself. Can he do tricks? No, but he was kind of cute and really liked a tummy rub. And, he wasn't much trouble. Until. Lily left him alone with his kitty kibble and who should walk in the back door but a tiger! You can guess the mess the tiger made in the kitchen and who was left holding the bag. 

Naughty Kitty! would be perfect for story time. Please don't skip the end papers as they extend the story and add humor. Young readers/ listeners will giggle with delight as they spot the tiger well before Kitty's oblivious owner. The pastel hued watercolor and ink illustrations are nicely rendered and contain visual humor and other clues for the eagle-eyed. Especially funny is the page about the revolting mess that Kitty left. The poo in the poop bag is bigger than poor little Kitty. He rolls with punches though. Good thing, since he may be contending with other escapees from the zoo soon.  

Mighty Dads by Joan Holub

Mighty Dads by Joan Holub. Illustrated by James Dean. unpgd. Scholastic Press, April, 2014. 9780545609685. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher)

One can't help but smile at the cover of this endearing homage to dads. Featuring bright, bold, energetic illustrations and playful language in a gentle rhyme, this would be great for little readers who adore their dads and/ or big rigs. It would also make a great Father's Day gift for new or not-so-new dads.

Zoe's Jungle by Bethanie Deeny Murguia

Zoe's Jungle by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. unpged. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc., May, 2014. 9780545558693. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review.)

Oh, the pressures of transitioning! Zoe and her sister, Addie are enjoying their time at the playground when their mother announces that they have five minutes before they need to leave. But wait! Zoe spots a rare spotted Addiebeast (Addie's wearing a polkadot dress) in the foliage and Zoe can't let her get away. The playground becomes a lush jungle when Zoe is caught up in her imagination only to abruptly return to reality when her mother booms the ticking minutes, five, four, three, two, one… But Zoe and Addie don't put up a fuss when it's time to leave because now it's the best time of all - reading time!

The pen and ink and water color illustrations perfectly capture the energy and excitement of imaginary play at its best and most endearing. This would be a fun read-aloud and a charming antidote to video game obsessed kids who are probably suffering from nature deficit disorder. 


The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland

The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland. unpgd. Orchard Books/ Scholastic Inc., July 29, 2014. 9780545612692. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review.)

In the Jingle Jangle Jungle, four friends, Moose, Lion, Zebra and Sheep dash into a cave to get out of the rain. It seems a perfect place for an impromptu card game but for the very cranky bear! They are chased back out into the rain but are undeterred. Moose, Lion and Zebra each decide he knows the (hilarious) reason for why bear is cranky and reenter the cave to cheer him up. Just as Sheep thinks they've been eaten, out they tear followed by an even crankier bear, now sporting zebra stripes, a lion's mane and moose antlers! It is plain, old sheep who can provide what Bear needs to un-crank.

The text is jaunty and rhyming. The adorable illustrations are energetic, humorous and cause the eye to linger. This makes for a fun read-aloud and won't be a shelf-sitter. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - The Terminals by Royce Scott Buckingham

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


The Terminals by Royce Scott Buckingham. 288 p. St. Martin's Press, October 14, 2014. 9781250011558.

Publisher synopsis: In The Terminals, Royce Buckingham tells the riveting story of a covert team of young, terminally ill teens who spend their last year alive running dangerous missions as super-spies for an organization that may not be all it seems.
When 19 year-old Cam Cody is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he expects to spend the rest of his shortened life in an adjustable bed. Then one night, a mysterious man offers Cam one chance to join a covert unit of young “terminals.” They are like him, only they spend the last year of their lives executing exciting and dangerous missions to make the world a better place.
With nothing to lose, Cam is in.
A helicopter flies Cam to a secret tropical location, where he’s tossed out with a parachute and an instruction manual. After a rough landing, he meets his nine teammates. The other terminals don’t seem sick; Zara is beautiful, Donnie is an amazing athlete, and Calliope sings like a bird. He soon learns that they’re enhanced with an experimental super steroid TS-8, which suppresses their illnesses’ symptoms and heightens their physical and mental abilities. It’s also fatal if taken for more than a year.
Cam joins this extreme spy team, and they begin pulling dangerous operations in multiple countries. As his teammates fall around him, he starts to receive cryptic messages from a haggard survivor of last year’s class hiding in the forest. She reveals that the program isn’t what it seems, leading Cam to question whether any of them are really sick at all.
I really enjoyed Demonkeeper, Mr. Buckingham's first novel. His second novel, Goblins, is rip-roaring fun. I haven't yet read, The Dead Boys but a sixth grade girl assures me that it is excellent. This is the author's first YA offering.
What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorites of 2014

TTT is hosted by Broke and Bookish each week. This week's theme is top ten best books so far in 2014.

It seems to be a shaping up to be a strong year for middle grade as I realize that eight of my favorites so far this year happen to be middle grade. Of the two YA titles, one was published in November of 2013, so technically, it's not a 2014 title. Still, I'm including it because it's my blog (and I read it this year).

YA:
Champion by Marie Lu. Such a satisfying conclusion to a smart, smart trilogy.


Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Another smart trilogy with a satisfying ending. Honestly, I never wanted to leave the world Laini Taylor created.

MG:
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle. This sequel to Better Nate Than Ever! was funny and endearing. Both books are must purchase.


Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick.

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord. Another winner by Ms. Lord. Her books are always unique. This one's getting some discussion over on the Goodreads Newbery group.


Odin's Ravens (The Blackwell Pages #2) by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. Give this series to your fans of Percy Jackson.
The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer. I just realized that I never did write a review of this luminous debut. Give to your patrons who thrive on sad books. So sad but such a great story about grief and healing and forgiveness.


The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern. Another promising debut I failed to review.


Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Making Money by Tommy Greenwald. This one's not due out till late August so my review won't post till late July. Suffice it to say that Charlie Joe continues to entertain. I think I heard that he's working on a guide to girls.

And for a little nonfiction:
Babe Conquers the World: the legendary life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neill Wallace.

ETA: I totally forgot about We Were Liars by E.L. Lockhart, which I actually read in late 2013 but just recently released. Excellent read!

Leave a link to your top ten in the comments.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Non-Fiction Monday: Scholastic Discover More: Birds by Penelope Arlon


Scholastic Discover More: Birds by Penelope Arlon. 32 p. Scholastic Inc., June 24, 2014. 9780545667739. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review.)

This Discover More entry is bound to create a new generation of budding birders. Everything one needs to know about birds is right here. Well, no. That's impossible to do in 32 pages, but a ton of tidbits and photos are crammed in covering everything from what makes a bird a bird, has feathers and lays eggs, to feathers and flying to nesting and hatching eggs and more. And the pictures! Oh the pictures are gorgeous. The eye just can't figure out where to rest! This is especially true on the double-page spread featuring the variety of colors birds can be! The images are thumbnails but sharp and clear. And, take the close-up photo of the bee eater, for example; every citron-green feather pops.

The back cover states, "For brand-new readers," but a newly fluent reader will struggle with some of the information in the text boxes, where words such as pinpoint and sensitive and camouflage are used and the font is smallish. It is perfect for fluent readers in first through third grades.

The information gleaned from here might be of more interest to browsers and fact hound than report writing as many of the facts are rather basic and general. There's a nifty two-page glossary superimposed over the bright breast and wing feathers of a parrot. There's an index and photo credits but no suggestions for further reading. Still, it's attractive and inviting and a fine addition to the elementary or ELL library.

As of this review, the accompanying ebook was not online. I was looking forward to reading it as it was about becoming a birder!