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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday reviews a day late!

Last weeks' computer crash has left me a little behind (and scrambling, I've lost all my documents I think). Reworking Nana's Gift in light of the positive reviews and seeing it in the Easy Reader sized format (nope doesn't cut it) and a week of 14 year old GISHWES festivities, so I will reserve the right to post book reviews ON or ABOUT.  In a few weeks, with the advent of school, I hope to be able to PRE-write somethings and post on time. Just not at this time, so apologies... I'll make it up by reviewing some wonderful books, okay? This week I had a personal connection with all the books, so I don't even make the pretense of being partial.

What Floats in a Moat?
Lynne Berry
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013

Archimedes (Archie for short) the goat has an important date at the castle and has to figure out how to ford the moat. Skinny the Hen makes for a perfect sidekick for Archie's solution testing theories. Funny, funny, I loved the whimsy of the drawings, and the dash of science the book provides. I also like the problem/solution aspect of the book, and think most kids would delight at not only the silly but the serious of this book (cleverly disguised as silly).

Other books by Lynne Berry: Duck Tents (illustrated by Hiroe Nakata); The Curious Demise of a Contrary Cat (illustrated by Luke LaMarca); Duck Dunks (illustrated by Hiroe Nakata); Ducking for Apples (illustrated by Hiroe Nakata)

Other books by Matthew CordellJustin Case: Shells, Smells and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom (written by Rachel Vail); Bug Juice on a Burger (written by Julie Sternberg); Justin Case: School, Drool and other Daily Disasters (written by Rachel Vail)Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie (written by Julie Sternberger); Ollie and Claire (written by Tiffany Trelitz Haber); Forgive me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems (written by Gail Carson Levine); hello! hello!

David Slonim
Roaring Brook Press, 2013

A tale of true friendship, I find this joyous and uplifting in a kid-way. It's set up more like a bit of a Chapter book, and I think younger kids would appreciate that (goodness knows me and everyone I knew wanted to be older than we were, though I've spent the last forty years backpedaling...) Patches is the perfect dog who doesn't always do the perfect thing, a valuable lesson in friendship and moving on from dissapointment. The art is loose and happy with fresh colors, the words simple. The ideas profound and complex.

Other books by David Slonim: How to Teach a Slug to Read (written by Susan Pearson); You Think it's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? (written by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt);  He Came with the Couch; Silly Tilly (written by Eileen Spinelli); I Loathe You; Look Out, Jeremy Bean! (written by Alice Schertle)

Bone by Bone
Sara Levine
illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth
Millbrook Press, 2013

This book would have delighted the nerdy kid in me and delights me now. Informative is understandable in yet a witty way, it's got visuals that are clear and fun, and loads of information to satisfy! I also liked the way it deepens the thoughts about our differences and similarities to other creatures in the world.

Other books by T.S. Spookytooth: Sally's Bones (written by Mackenzie Caldenhead); Mommy There's a Giraffe in My Room (written by Angela Lane and Patricia Stevens); The Small Bun: Blue/Band Phonics 4 (written by Martin Wadell); Bible Birds and Beasties (written by Leena Lane)

Jenny Craig's I Believe in Genevieve
Jenny Craig
illustrated by Wendy Edelson
Regenery Kids, 2013

I only review books I like and I was fully prepared to not care for this book. It's an old saw about people who become famous (and this happens in other arts as well) and write for children. But I love Wendy Edelson's art and wanted to at least see the book itself. It was not only engaging and well-written, I loved the positive information at the end. As a kid totally enamored of animals in general and horses in particular, the story interesting and the art just sparkles like jewels. I would have liked this for the art alone, Edelson is the kind of illustrator I just love, but the book itself is a wonderful addition to anyone's library and reinforces positive choices, changes and values.

Other books by Jenny Craig: Jenny Craig's No Diet Required; The Jenny Craig Cookbook: Cutting Through the Fat; Jenny Craig's What Have You Got to Lose: A Personalized Weight Management System; Simple Pleasures: Recipes to Nourish Body and Soul

Other books by Wendy Edelson: A Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale (written by Aaron Shepherd); Hannah and Hickory: From the Land of Barely There (written by Stephen Cosgrove); On This Night (written by N. Steiner); Pobble's Way (written by Simon van Booy); Over the River and Through the Woods (written by Lydia Maria Child); Saturn for my Birthday (written by John Mcgranaghan)

Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education
Elizabeth Suneby
illustrated by Suana Verelst
Citizen Kid, Kids Can Press, 2013

Razia dreams of going to school and learning, though she's surreptitiously been learning to read from her brothers. How to convince her traditional family to allow her to go. A great view into another culture, I like very much that Suneby makes note of the changes that has occurred in  Afghanistan as well as showing Razia's dilemma without the judgment that could come with it. The illustrations are STUNNING, and have achieved that rare feeling for me--- I wish I'd done them. I think this an important book on many levels. Understanding different cultures, especially one we've been immersed in for the last twelve years, some of the trials facing others, and some great discussion about the world and the impact of education, each other, values and goals.

Other books by Elizabeth Suneby: It's a... It's a... It's a Mitzvah (with Diane Heiman); The Mitzvah Project Book: Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Life and Your Life (with Diane Heiman); Origami Fortune Tellers (with Diane Heiman, illustrated by Christine Archer); See What You Could Be: Explore Careers That Could be For You!

Other books by Suana Verelst: Next Week When I am Big (written by Jaenet Guggenheim)