Monday, October 31, 2011

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

This participatory book really gets the reader involved in the action and the illustrations. It all begins with a simple command--press here!

What I thought: A fun book, Press Here may top my love of Mr. Brown Can Moo. I had such a wonderful time reading this book to myself. In a word, it's magic. However, I don't see how you could use this book in story time. It may be more suited to one-on-one sharing.

(Chronicle, 2011)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Little, Little Girl with the Big, Big Voice by Kristen Balouch

A small girl with a humongous voice scares away all the animals she meets until she meets lion. He is as loud as she is. Together they enjoy the day.

What I thought: A lovely story with simple text. Children will enjoy guessing what animal comes next. I like the illustrations--so colorful and no lines. My favorite illustrations are the elephant, blowing bubbles, and the girl and lion laughing together.

Story Time Themes: Animals, Loud Noises (pair with The Loud Book)

(Little Simon, 2011)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

13 Words by Lemony Snicket

Thirteen words do a story make. How do you get from a bird to a mezzo-soprano? Open the covers of 13 Words!

What I thought: Loved it! The story is funny and interesting. The illustrations are bright and colorful. I love the concept of the story. My favorite spelling exercise back in grade school was to use all our spelling words in a story. This book could definitely inspire writers young and old. I love that some of the words are unusual and complex (e.g., despondent, haberdashery).

(Illus. Maira Kalman. Harper, 2010)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks

Marie-Claire is almost sixteen. A time that is usually special becomes traumatic when she and her siblings Luc and Josee are diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to a sanatorium. In the 1940s, the cure for TB is rest and lots of it. Marie-Claire balks at the forced rest. She worries about her brother and sister and misses her life before TB. But to her surprise, she finds a life at the sanatorium--good friends and even love.

What I thought: I'm a sucker for historical fiction. The setting (Manitoba, Canada) is unusual and the disease is something I'm familiar with. My grandma's young sister died of TB in the early 1930s. When I headed off to college, I had to be tested for TB (something to do with living in a dorm). I felt Marie-Claire's every emotion in this book. Her anger, hopelessness, hope, and determination. All in all, a good book.

I read Queen of Hearts for the YA Historical Fiction Challenge.

(FSG, 2011)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy #2

Evie's longing for a normal life is short-lived. With Lend in college, she finds high school, homework, and an after school job rather boring. Coincidentally, her old boss Raquel chooses that moment to ask Evie to work for IPCA again. Despite Lend and his dad's reservations, boredom wins out and Evie returns to IPCA. Since she's not a fan of faeries, she gets Jack--raised in the faerie realms, he knows how to manipulate the paths and transport Evie on her assignments. Jack is mischievous and seems to get Evie into sticky situations. As usual, the faeries are causing problems. Evie finds herself in the middle of the feud.

What I thought: I liked Supernaturally. It's a good sequel to Paranormalcy. I can understand Evie's boredom. Her romance with Lend is still there but less so. Perhaps the long distance thing is true for any relationship. The mystery was good. I didn't suspect a thing. The revelation about Evie's past was interesting. I'm looking forward to reading the last book, Endlessly, that's due out in 2012.

(Harper Teen, 2011)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Raised by Wolves #2

Being a human alpha to a pack of young werewolves isn't easy. Other packs still aren't happy about what happened. Shay in particular has a grudge. When one of his wolves shows up in Bryn's territory beaten bloody, Bryn and her pack get more than they bargained for. Lucas is on the run not from his pack, but from a group of psychic wolf haters. Just when Bryn thinks they have a chance, circumstances change. Is she strong enough?

What I thought: Okay, so the above is not the best summary, but I didn't want to give anything away. I liked this sequel to Raised by Wolves. Bryn is definitely coming into her own. The romance/connection between Bryn and Chase takes a backseat to the pack dilemmas, but that doesn't make the book any less interesting. Dev is still providing the comic relief. The mystery element was well done. Like Bryn, I had no clue until it was all over. The lack of Callum in this book was a little sad. The last three chapters were particularly fantastic. I can't wait to read the next book (due out next year and currently untitled).

(Egmont, 2011)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blackout by John Rocco

The city is a busy place until the lights go out. Without electricity, people are forced to remember and embrace simpler forms of entertainment like stargazing and playing board games.

What I thought: I love the illustrations. So dark and shadowy. The touch of blue is inspired. The comic book layout (panels) works well. The brevity of the text lets readers (and listeners) absorb the illustrations.

Story Time Idea: Pair with Nightlights by Susan Gal and Flicker Flash by Joan Bransfield Graham.

(Disney Hyperion, 2011)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Noodle & Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon

Noodle wakes up in a mood. Nothing suits him. Luckily, his good friend Lou is there to cheer him up.

What I thought: A great book about friendship. I like how Lou doesn't get discouraged by Noodle's gloominess. The illustrations are good. I like the bold lines. My favorite illustrations are Noodle & Lou hugging and Noodle and Lou flying (last page).

Story Time Themes: Friendship, Moods

(Beach Lane Books, 2011)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid

Petunia wants a pet. Not just any old pet but a skunk. Undeterred by her parents' claim that skunks stink, Petunia heads to the forest to fins herself a skunk.

What I thought: Love it! Petunia has such character and attitude. I think A Pet for Petunia will fast become a story time favorite. The illustrations are wonderful. I like Schmid's use of purple. My favorite illustrations are Petunia finding the skunk and the porcupine (such a horrified expression!). I can't wait for the next Petunia book. A Pet for Petunia would pair well with Bridget Fidget and the Most Perfect Pet and The Pigeon Wants a Puppy.

Story Time Theme: Pets

(Harper, 2011)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Sattler

Looking for treasure on the beach, brothers Fergus and Dink find more than treasure. They find a new friend, Dave the surfboard, and a new hobby, surfing.

What I thought: A cute book. I love the brothers' imagination. This will be a nice addition to my beach story time. The illustrations are great--so colorful and soft lines. My favorites are Dink with the shark tooth shell, Dave, and the brothers surfing.

Story Time Themes: Beach, Brothers/Siblings, Imagination

(Bloomsbury, 2011)

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

300 years ago, Talia was warned about spindles and their danger, but apparently not often enough. She pricked her finger and, well, you know the rest.

Present day, Jack's on a tour of Europe. It's parent ordered so as you would imagine not very fun. In search of adventure, Jack stumbles upon Talia's long forgotten kingdom.

He kisses her. She wakes up. But all is not well. 300 years passed in the real world, not a fairy tale. Jack isn't Talia's true love. He didn't even know her, so why did she wake up? Was Jack's kiss a legitimate breaking of the spell?

What I thought: Fun! I like that Flinn takes the "fairy" out of the fairy tale. 100 years is nothing to Sleeping Beauty. Not so to Talia and her kingdom. The alternating points-of-view are great. I like seeing both main characters' thoughts. Alex Flinn didn't disappoint me. I liked A Kiss in Time as much as Beastly and Cloaked.

(Harper Teen, 2009)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ZooBorns: Zoo Babies from around the World by Andrew Bleiman & Chris Eastland

Summary from Book Jacket: Here come the ZooBorns! Every day baby animals are born in zoos around the world. They're fuzzy and cuddly and chubby and curious. And they can't wait to meet you!

What I thought: Simple text and gorgeous photos introduce young readers and listeners to baby zoo animals. I can't wait to use this in my zoo story time. My favorite photos are pygmy hippo and wombat.

Story Time Themes: Zoo, Baby Animals

(Beach Lane Books, 2010)

Monday, October 3, 2011

ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World's Zoos & Aquariums by Andrew Bleiman & Chris Eastland

I believe the subtitle says it all!

What I thought: Too cute. I love that the animals included are either threatened or endangered. The information included made me want to know more. The photos are wonderful. My favorites are pygmy hippos. wombat, pygmy rabbits, and Bengal Tigers.

(Simon & Schuster, 2010)