Book Review

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

The Marvels by Brian Selznick book cover: purple with gold designs of a ship, moon, flying birdsFirst, in pictures, learn the amazing history of a lone shipwreck survivor, taken in by a theatre family and turned into a multi-generation acting legacy. Then, in words, follow a young runaway boy find his estranged uncle who lives in a strangely preserved historic house. Finally, discover the shocking facts that tie these two stories together and why sometimes fiction is more honest than truth.

This title is recommended for curious readers in grades 4-6 who enjoy multi-layered plotlines and a touch of wonder.

Find The Marvels  in the Library.

Brittany, Kids World

Firebird written by Misty Copeland

Firebird book cover: chose an african american ballerina in mid leap“even birds must learn to fly
like me, you’ll grow steady in grace
spread an arabesque of wings
and climb”

Misty Copeland is the first African American female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theater. In her first picture book, a young girl looks at a successful ballerina, intimidated by thoughts that she can never be as great. The successful ballerina, in turn, assures the novice that with work, she can be great, too. After all, weren’t we all beginners once?

Beautifully illustrated with torn paper and paint collages, reading this title is an inspiring visual dance. Firebird is suitable for every age of dreamer, most highly recommended for those just beginning their journey in a specific passion.

Find Firebird in the Library.

Brittany, Kids World

Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewart

Mummy Cat by ewart book cover shows a mummified cat coming out of a decorative box"A cat who moves without a breath: a mummy cat, who's passed through death."

Mummy Cat loved his owner Hat-shup-set more than anything else. However that was all in the past. Currently, Mummy Cat is a mummy himself, roaming alone in the pyramid where his human was laid to rest. Recounting fond memories of what's really important in life and the bond they shared, Mummy Cat waits for his lonely time to be over.

Mummy Cat is a book that approaches the harsh topic of death in a gentle and educational manner. Told through historical fact (with a twist of fiction) it tells a beautiful story about love and friendship that’s easy to identify with. While not its’ intended purpose, Mummy Cat is also an opportunity to open a dialog between parent and child about the basic concepts of this life-changing event that affects us all.  A brief overview in the back reveals how mummies were made and their importance in ancient Egyptian culture, along with a hieroglyph search and guide. Mummy Cat is a multifaceted book for several reasons, and a sweet tale for any age to enjoy.

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Naomi, Kids World

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Blackbird Fly book cover: image shows 2 rows of lockers, in the middle aisle with back towards viewer is a figure with long hair with a backpack and guitar wearing a t-shirt and jeansApple has a few problems. She wants to be a rock star like her hero, George Harrison of The Beatles, but her Filipino immigrant mother is dead set against it. Playing the guitar and not studying after school is “too American.” But nothing can be “too American” for Apple when her so called friends drop her after her name ends up on her middle school’s infamous Dog Log: a list of the ugliest girls in school. If only her friends didn’t turn on her, if only she could fit in, if only she could follow her dreams to become a musician… then maybe life would be easier. Or maybe finding a new friend or two and uncovering bits of her mother’s secret past will make life as sweet as apple pie.

This title is recommended for any and all readers in grades 5-7, especially those with a fondness for The Beatles.

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Brittany, Kids World

One Today by Richard Blanco

One Today book cover: shows a mom, girl, and dog walking down a hill away from houses“Hear: the doors we open for each other all day, saying: hello / shalom / buon giorno / howdy / namaste / or buenas dias…”

There are hidden gems to be found in any library’s poetry section, many beautifully illustrated picture books interspersed with anthologies old and new.  I admired Richard Blanco’s reading of this original poem at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration and here it is rendered for little lap-sitters through Dav Pilkey’s evocative paintings.  The short verse spans time and place across one day in America, an homage to our industry, hopefulness and diverse landscape and population.

I recommend this book for all ages.  It is best enjoyed when read in a quiet, contemplative time, perhaps early in the morning or late at night. Enjoy it with someone who still fits on your lap.

Mary Jo, Kids World

Find One Today in the Library.

Shake to Assemble by Calliope Glass

Shake to Assemble book cover: Hulk holding up title words"Let's assemble the rest of the team."

With that invitation, the reader is encouraged to tap, shake, and scream at the book to draw out each of the seven Avenger team members in turn. This interactive book is the perfect treat for young superhero fans- who will most likely giggle as they poke and tickle Dr. Banner in order to get him mad enough to change into the Hulk. This title works will work best for one-on-one sharing or in very small groups so that everyone can take a turn.

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Celeste, Kids World

Head Lice by Elise Gravel

Head Lice book cover featuring a cartoon bug with a speech bubble saying "Hey There!"“They lived happily ever after and had many, many, waaaay too many children.”

Early readers will giggle their way through this quick read, a hybrid fact and humor title. Lice and their sinister ways are remarkably made cute here through the digital artwork and the clever speech bubbles and text.

Some of the nonsense bits might confuse very young readers (such as one louse with a skateboard and another one gluing model airplanes) but the book covers louse vocabulary and basic facts. Did you know that lice cannot fly but jump onto new victims’ hair from other people’s hair, hats or clothing? (Yuck!) I recommend this book for kids who are fascinated with insects and, especially, for families that have endured a louse invasion and want to try to laugh about it later.

Find Head Lice and the rest of the "Disgusting Critters" series in the Library.

Mary Jo, Kids World

The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie By James Kochalka

Glorkian Warrior book cover: alien riding what looks like a giant worm-fish“Oh my!” “Oh PIE!”

On a routine mission to protect pie from a space snake, things go horribly wrong. Now the Glorkian Warrior and their Super (Talking) Backpack are on a silly adventure to fix everything, the only problem is Glorkian Warrior’s rival Buster Glark seems to keep getting in the way. Joined by Gonk and the Baby Alien, is it even remotely possible for this team of misfits to get things under control when they’re so full of random ideas and nonsense?

This graphic novel is completely full of silliness and fun. With an entertaining color palette and complimentary art style, overall it’s a casual but delightful read. The jokes are pretty off the wall, but that’s what makes it a refreshing take from most other comic series. The Glorkian Warrior series is for all ages, but grades 1-4 will find it especially entertaining.

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Naomi, Kids World

George by Alex Gino

George book cover: each letter of the title is in a different color, from inside the O, we see the top of a head (eyes up) looking at the reader"George, whatever it is, you can tell me… Whatever happens in your life, you can share it, and I will love you.”

Sweet and funny, George tells the realistic middle-school tale of a boy who has always felt like a girl. We follow George as she struggles with her sense of self, shares it with her mother and friend and is, thankfully, supported by both of them.

This modern title is recommended for readers in grades 4 through 7, especially those who are becoming aware of gender identity issues among their peers or dealing with them personally.  It deals directly with this topic in a positive way, in the context of an accessible and charming middle-school story.

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Mary Jo, Kids World

The True Story of Winnie the Pooh; 1 Story, 2 Books, 2 Unique Voices

2 book covers: Finding Winnie features a brown bear cub hugging a soldier's booted leg. Winnie shows a sideview of a bear cub being carried in the arms of a soldierCaptain Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian and horse doctor in World War I, bought a baby bear from a trapper, and later, brought the bear overseas to England. He named the bear Winnipeg after their home, and the bear was called Winnie for short. However, Colebourn is only part of the story.  Both books show Winnie growing from a trapped baby cub to a soldier's bear to a little boy's best friend. While both nonfiction books are illustrated, each feature photographs of Winnie and Colebourn.

Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick

"His head said, "I shouldn't." His head said, "I can't." But his heart made up his mind."

And so, Captain Harry Colebourn's empathy flows smoothly across the pages and in doing so demonstrates the meaning of unselfishness. The relationship between himself and Winnie is displayed as lovingly paternal. The story of the bear that inspired the tales of Winnie the Pooh is told here in a soft story book style and is recommended for a lovely quiet read for animal fans. Preschoolers and kindergarteners in particular might find this a great book for cuddle time.

Winnie by Sally M. Walker

"Harry, what in the world were you thinking?"
   -"That I had to save her."

Walker's rendition showcases Captain Harry Colebourn relationship and experiences with Winnie as quite lively. While the language is not as smooth, readers will find humor in the  the anecdotes selected from the live of the bear who inspired the tales of Winnie the Pooh. The illustrations portray the movement and action in each related experience. Recommended for fans looking for a little more romp in their stories.

Find Finding Winnie in the Library
Find Winnie in the Library

Celeste, Kids World