Book Reviews

It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon
Krosoczka, Jarrett J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Things don’t always go your way. Sometimes you lose your balloon or your ice cream melts. What can you do when things don’t go right? This book helps you figure out how to look on the bright side of things and turn challenges into opportunities.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Going Where It’s Dark
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Buck Anderson is a spelunker. He used to go caving with his friend, David, but now David has moved away. Caving is the one way that Buck escapes from his worries. He stutters and the kids at school make fun of him for it. He’s bullied a lot. This coming-of-age adventure will inspire and encourage young readers.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
An Eagle's Feather: Based on a Story by the Philippine Eagle Foundation
Ho, Minfong
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book tells the story of Kalayaan, a young Philippine eagle and his experiences in the forest of Tambala. Throughout Kalayaan’s journey, we learn about conservation and the impact that people can have on animals and the environment. Kalayaan’s story reminds us that we are all neighbors in the world and that caring for our neighbors and our home is important. This is a great pick for young readers who want to learn more about eagles and the environment.

Reviewer's Name: Jordana
Dive In!  A Topsy-Turvy-Say-It-Out-Loud Underwater Adventure
Recess Monkey
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of fun and laughter we had with this book. I expected it to be lame, but it was a fun read-aloud. It's an interactive book where you end up sounding like you're an undersea explorer, holding you breath as you dive in, and participating in silly shenanigans. We had a great time with it.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Stanley Will Probably Be Fine
Pla, Sally J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Stanley is a whiz at comics trivia. Comics provide him with comfort when life becomes overwhelming and lately that's been all of the time! The principal at Peavey Middle School is obsessed with school safety and preparedness and this stresses Stanley out. He's able to escape from the school drills by spending them in a "safe room" where he creates a safety superhero, John Lockdown.

Stanley's best friend, Joon, wants to win VIP passes to Comic Fest by entering a Trivia Quest treasure hunt. While they begin as partners, Joon soon ditches him. Stanley decides to enter anyway to prove he can tackle his worries. As he faces the overwhelming and challenging day, he thinks, "What would John Lockdown do?"

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding
Liukas, Linda
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ruby has a huge imagination. She can do anything she puts her mind to and hates to be told what to do. She struggles when the instructions aren't clear. Join Ruby on her adventure as she completes a challenge that her dad leaves when he's away and put your imagination to work. Hello Ruby:
Adventures in Coding is half storybook, half activity book. It teaches the basic concepts like breaking problems into smaller ones, thinking outside the box, and finding patterns that are useful in coding through storytelling and activities.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Genres:
Get Out of My Bath!
Teckentrup, Britta
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In this interactive book, Ellie the Elephant is taking a bath.
She’s having a great time until other animals come to join in the fun.
Help her out as she tries to get the bath to herself again.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth
Robinson, Michelle
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michelle Robinson has created a step by step guide to help you wash a woolly mammoth. There are some tricky parts to beware of such as the fact that woolly mammoths have terribly tickly tummies. The illustrations are wonderful and help you imagine the perils of washing a mammoth. Great fun for young readers!

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Night Owl
Yuly, Toni
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Night Owl loves staying up late. As he says goodbye to the daytime, he realizes that he can’t see Mommy Owl. He listens closely and hears different things, but not Mommy Owl. Finally, he hears the nicest sound of all – Mommy Owl. Using onomatopoeia and simple pictures, this delightful picture book encourages language and listening skills.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Digby Takes Charge
Church, Caroline
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Digby is the new sheepdog and he's having trouble getting the sheep to do what he asks. He tries different ways until his farmyard friends teach him the value of one little word - please. It's a great reminder of the power of please (and thank you).

Reviewer's Name: Carol
You Can Fill a Swimming Pool With Your Spit!  The Fact or Fiction Behind Human Bodies
Mason, Paul
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Each of us is living in a human body, but just how well do we understand how it works. The body is complicated and there are so many so-called facts about it. This book examines the fact or fiction behind some of the craziest myths. For example:
Are toilet seats really cleaner than computer keyboards?
Is it possible to be scared to death?
Are 1/4 of your bones really in your feet?
So while many of these facts may not be useful, they are interesting and, at times, revolting. You may learn something new about the human body.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Genres:
The Train of Lost Things
Paquette, Ammi-Joan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Where to start? This book was poignant, beautiful, lovely and dealt with the subject of loss, through a child’s eyes, in a way that pulled at my heart strings, big time. This beautiful tale follows a young kid named Marty as he deals with the pain and loss that comes when someone close is dying and there is nothing you feel you can do about it. When Marty’s precious possession is lost, his jean jacket scattered with buttons that represent his fondest memories with this person, at first he is devastated, but then he hears the tale of the train of lost things and he goes on a quest to find it and retrieve the precious thing he lost. Along the way he comes across two others, both on similar journeys, and discovers that what matters is not the objects themselves but the memories they represent and the love that he shares with his loved ones.

Paquette’s character Marty, approaches the subject of loss and death with a childlike curiosity. Yet throughout the story, Marty also displays the strong denial that comes with facing loss and death, questioning whether or not what is happening is really true. Marty’s love for his loved one and his need that, retrieving this jacket would make things all better, is what kept his character going. Yet in the end he realizes that life and death are not always that simple. But memories and love have a stronger power over death and loss and sometimes to overcome them you just need to escape reality to really understand that.

I don't usually pick up kids books but I picked up and read this book in one day! That is how good it was! I love this book in every way and I highly recommend it! Even though this book is for kids, I also recommend it for older people, or anyone dealing with loss, as the lessons learned can be applicable for anyone.

Thank you to the publisher Philomel Books for a ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book doesn't come out till March 20 but you can put it on your hold list today!

Reviewer's Name: Anonymous
Book Review: The Higher Power of Lucky
Patron, Susan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a very good book. I listened to it on audio and the narrator was fantastic. The climax of the book takes place during a dust storm, which is a classic case of the natural elements reflecting the story line. A bit contrived, yes, but good for young readers. The conclusion was textbook, but also okay for younger readers. If you'd like to read a good story with no surprises, this book is for you.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Sounder
Armstrong, William H.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I've been on a children's book about dogs kick lately. I started with Shiloh, went to Where the Red Fern Grows, and ended with Sounder (I may read Old Yeller too). Sounder is the winner of the Newbery Medal, but it was the least powerful book out of the three. I almost feel like I may have read an abridged version of the book. The characters weren't well developed and there wasn't really a sense of desperation and overt class stratification that the book's summary promised. Overall, it was underwhelming. I'm being nice and giving it 3 stars instead of 2.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
The Book of Lost Things
Voigt, Cynthia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Max's parents have dashed off on an unexpected adventure and left their 12 year old son Max behind, alone...well, his grandmother is around to watch over him, but she is busy being a librarian. Max has to fend for himself and picks up a part time job as a solutioneer (sounds like engineer, but much more mysterious). His first task is to find a lost pet and this snowballs into many intricately involved adventures that will keep readers turning pages with anticipation to find out what this determined young man will do next. The Book of Lost Things, by Cynthia Voigt, is sure to please children 9 - 13 who enjoy a good mystery.

Reviewer's Name: Barb
Bob, Not Bob!
Scanlon, Liz Garton
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

For the parent, teacher or librarian who loves a good read aloud that can only be done with "the voices" - this is your book. A boy with a cold in his head calls for his mom, but it sounds like "Bob," and of course his dog, Bob, comes running instead. Hilarious situations will tickle reader and listener alike in Bob, Not Bob! by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick with pictures by Matthew Cordell. For ages 3 - 7.

Reviewer's Name: Barb
Big Bear Little Chair
Boyd, Lizi
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Big Bear Little Chair by Lizi Boyd is reminiscent of the block cut, three color art children's books of the 40's and 50's. Very simple text accompanies the beautiful illustrations depicting size comparison. Each page is a story unto itself, and children will love filling in the details of why the big zebra has such a little broom or why the big bird is carrying a little red umbrella. Perfect for ages 2 - 5.

Reviewer's Name: Barb
Book Review: Where the Red Fern Grows
Rawls, Wilson
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is so well written that it didn't matter that I had nothing in common with the narrator and no interest in hunting. In fact, I felt sorry for the coons. This is a story of love and devotion that had me enthralled, especially in the second half. The ending, while a bit contrived, was still beautiful.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Shiloh
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Shiloh is a sweet story about a boy's love for his dog. Well, Shiloh isn't actually his but is owned by an abusive neighbor. Marty's devotion and determination to save Shiloh is touching. The narration is spot on. Well done!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
One Trick Pony
Hale, Nathan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In this creative, futuristic graphic novel all technology has been stolen by a species known as the Pipers. When a young girl and two of her friends stumble into a hidden cache of robots, they become the targets of a wild chase. This book is exciting, unique, and includes a battle in outerspace! Recommended for grades 3-6.

Reviewer's Name: Jenny G.