29 March 2011

Whose House Is This?

Whose House Is This? A Look at Animal Homes - Webs, Nests, and Shells
Elizabeth Gregoire, Derrick Alderman and Denise Shea
Nonfiction children's picture book, ages 4-8
Part of the "Whose Is It? Science" series of books

This book teaches about different habitats for critters found around North America. Each odd page shows an animal's home then the flip side discusses the animal that lives in that sort of cave/nest/etc. The illustrations are cut paper and color drawings.
It includes instructions for making a craft piggy bank that looks like a house (a house for a human, that is), a glossary, bibliography, index, and website links. These are all aspects of a book that librarians like to see.
This would be a good book series for a campground or state park library or a classroom or school library.


Catherine Fisher
YA/Adult fantasy/science fiction
Times (of London) Children's Book of the Year

This is a full length novel (442 pages) with adult themes (court life, marriage, criminology), so I am surprised to see that it won a children's book award. I suppose it could be enjoyed by 15-18 year olds as well as adults, but if I had not seen that it was in our library's YA section (with the unicorn sticker indicating fantasy) and that it had won a children's book award I would have assumed that the target audience was adults. There is some violence and gore in the book, but it is not overdone or gratuitous. It makes sense in describing the physical conditions under which people are living.
The premise is that society has had enough of the criminal element and the negative influence of technology. It is decreed that people will return to a less complicated, more primitive existence. They re-created a medieval/renaissance world (although everyone knows that people cheat all the time with hidden technology). They banish their criminals to a new land - Incarceron. But the criminals are to be treated kindly and given food and education in a utopian setting. Something goes wrong, however, and the computer program set up to run Incarceron instead punishes the inhabitants of its world and resources become more and more scarce.
The story is told through the eyes of the prison Warden's daughter who is soon to marry the Prince of the outside world. What will she find out about Incarceron and what can she do about it?

Something Like Hope

Something Like Hope
Shawn Goodman
YA fiction

Shavonne has had a rough life. Her mother did not adequately care for her. She was essentially on her own by about age 9. Shavonne had a child while in jail. Is there anything like hope for someone like this? A new psychologist in the jail challenges her assumptions about life and gets her to thinking about what she will do once she turns 18. This is a bleak, realistic novel that does not sugar coat the consequences of a teen landing in jail. This book would be a good conversation starter for teens and the adults who care about them (parents, teachers, psychologists, police, etc).

Author Shawn Goodman has worked as a psychologist in a girls' juvenile justice facility and he draws on his experiences to paint a picture of contemporary life.

I recommend this book for public and high school libraries.

17 March 2011

Samantha (Bob Book)

Bob Books Set 4 Book 5
Bobby Lynn Maslen and John R. Maslen

Samantha is one of a series of books for new readers. Simple line drawings are accompanied by short words and short sentences in these small books. I had to show this picture because we laughed a lot about it. Samantha doesn't want to get up and go to school, but her parents cook a good smelling breakfast and this is how she reacts. She looks like she has encountered a Van de Graaff generator. See picture.

16 March 2011

Noodles: I Love School!

Noodles: I Love School!
Hans Wilhelm
Scholastic Level 1, Beginning Reader 50-250 words
children's fiction, ages 2-7

If you like Biscuit and Kipper, then Noodles is the dog for you. This is a simple book. Noodles, a fluffy, little white, Benji-type mop dog visits a school and sees what goes on there. The dog is dog-like and the children are human beings. We are not told why Noodles visits the school, but this book would be good for using when a child is getting ready to start school to let him or her know what to expect during an elementary school day.

Military Daddy

Military Daddy
(Heartwarming Inspirational Romance: Love Inspired (by Steeple Hill))
Patricia Davids
adult Christian romance

A one night stand by a recovering (relapsing)alcoholic and a career military man leads to a pregnancy. Do Annie and Shane want to see if they can succeed as a couple or should he just leave for his next duty station in Germany and forget about Annie and the baby?
I found it interesting that Annie professes to be a Christian, but the author has not made Annie a stereotype. Annie is a struggling Christian and a struggling alcoholic/recovering alcoholic. Shane is an honorable man, but not a Christian. This book does not dwell in black and white situations, but in real to life morals. This is no Grace Livingston Hill type of romance, but a contemporary romance.
The setting is an unusual one. The author has the military man as part of a reenactment group out of Fort Riley, Kansas: The General's Mounted Color Guard. Another twist is that Annie's pregnancy has a rare complication that may lead to a miscarriage or birth defect. I would rate this book as better than the average pocket size Inspirational Romance.

11 March 2011

Plain Kate

Plain Kate
Erin Bow

This book was not what I expected. I received a newsletter saying that it was a good teen fantasy read. It won a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults at the 2011 ALA Midwinter conference. It is published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic.
When I checked the book out, the cover had a unicorn sticker on it and it was in the YA fantasy fiction section. The image on the cover of the book is of a girl and her cat on a roof of some pre-1900 city.

A) I read the book and don't remember her walking on any city roofs.
B) Most of the book is not set in a city, but in small villages and gypsy camps.
C) This is not a cutesy unicorn book.
D) I would not call this a fantasy book but a horror book.

By the time I got 1/3 of the way through the book about an orphaned girl who can carve wonderful figure the book had clearly taken a turn into a horror book. There is black magic with lots of blood letting and nasty ghost/demons and a twisted warlock. The book is pretty well written, but I couldn't get past the wicked parts. I skim/read the last 2/3 of it to find out how it ended. There were some unexpected twists. It is an original work and the talking cat character is great, but it is more for the Twilight vampire crowd than for the "unicorn" reader and I would not recommend it to readers under the age of 16.

Biscuit Wants to Play

Biscuit Wants to Play
My First I Can Read Book
by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Pat Schories
ages 2-6
children's fiction

This book is recommended for beginning readers. The pictures are big and colorful. The words and sentences are short and simply printed. The plot is basic. In each Biscuit book the dog does realistic dog things. In this book he wants to play with kittens. The animals are animal-like - not anthropomorphic. The dogs say "woof" and the cats say "meow". For this reason you can safely recommend this book and the series to even the most conservative families.

The pictures are "greeting card"/Precious Moment-type cute and timeless.

09 March 2011

Foster a love of reading


Poky Little Puppy

Poky Little Puppy
a Golden Book
Janette Sebring Lowrey
children's fiction
ages 2-6
copyright 1942

Well I remember listening to the 45 record with this tale on it. We also had a number of other Golden Books and records like Scuffy the Tugboat and the Saggy Baggy Elephant and The Little Engine That Could.
I can not read this book without singing the words "Where in the World Is the Poky Little Puppy? Where Can that Puppy Be?
A group of puppies disobey their mother and dig under a fence to explore the big, wide, world. Will the ringleader and the others get in trouble and miss having dessert? Find out in this charming classic book.
If you can, get the book plus cassette, CD, or electronic audiobook so you can sing along.

08 March 2011

My Best Day

My Best Day
Trout Fishing in America
music CD

I chose this at random from my library's children's music collection. It has some great family friendly songs on it, such as one about two identical snowflakes and a kid whose pants fall down. One is particularly gross, told by a child. Three songs mention libraries!
On this live album the group says that they are welcomed by day care centers, libraries, and PRISONS!
It has a down home, zydeco, bluegrass, jazz mixture of styles.
I recommend this album for all public libraries.
Listen to it when stuck in the car with your family or a group of librarians or teachers (or inmates). This Grammy Award nominated band would make a great group to invite to sing at the library!

07 March 2011

04 March 2011

Dream Book Nook


A place to dream...

No. This is not my house, but we can all wish and hope and read!