November BOB reviews are rolling in!

Peterson, Scott. Meet the Marvel Super Heroes. New York: Marvel, 2013. 978-1-4231-6142-4. 144p. $12.99. Gr. 1-4
An excellent beginner guide to all the Marvel Super Heroes. Full of vivid and bright illustrations that book instantly grabs the interest of all those that love super heroes. The text is concise and to the point and perfect for reluctant and young readers. Each page depicts a different character, with a full color illustration and text that bolds, and changes color emphasizing the heroes specials skills and talents. The dust cover to the book open up as a poster of all the characters inside the book, on gloss heavy paper and perfect for display.
741.5: Cartoons, comics               Denise Naumann, Eisenhower Elementary

Rau, Dana Meachen. How-To Library: Creating Thanksgiving Crafts. Ann Arbor: Cherry Lake, 2014. 978-1624311482. 32p. $28.50. Gr. 3 – 6.
This wonderful little book begins with a brief history lesson of this national holiday including a who’s who and typical foods consumed on this 3-day feast.  An illustrated list of basic supplies needed follows along with basic painting and sewing tips. The book then uses beautifully illustrated spreads to gibve step-by-step instructions for making a turkey puppet, cornucopia, a thank you banner, Pilgrim place cards, a corn husk doll and an arrowhead beanbag toss game. Highly recommended.
394             Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School

Burgan, Michael. John F. Kennedy. Chicago: Raintree, 2013. 978-432980962. 56p. $32.65. Gr. 4-8.
A broad-based, in-depth analysis of John F. Kennedy against a backdrop of important people and events in his administration. Added background on historical topics stimulates further interest .A list of resources not only includes a glossary. index, books and websites, but also suggests places to visit. The author has added a “What if “ page speculating on the turn of events had Kennedy lived. The format and extensive contents of this book make it a wonderful source for reports covering the time period. A good purchase.
Biography             Martha Trzepacz, Strath Haven Middle School

Senker, Cath. Days of Decision: Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2014. 978-1432976378. 56p. $26.25. Gr. 7-8.
Even for those who remember it, the Cuban Missile Crisis and it’s implications on international relations has always been difficult to explain. While building a foundation of background material, the author has succeeded in giving the reader a big picture of the events and people of the period. Well placed photos, information boxes, timelines, source notes, glossary, bibliography and media resources contribute to the authenticity of the material. If a student ever asks about Kennedy, Castro and the Missile Crisis, grab this book first. I was impressed by this book and intend to look into purchasing others in the series.
973.9                          Martha Trzepacz, Strath Haven Middle School

Soderberg, Erin. The Quirks: Welcome to Normal. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 978-1-59990-789-5. 225p. $13.99. Gr. 3-6.
For the magical Quirks, the move to Normal Michigan a town where every house is identical, blending in proves to be a tough challenge. Each member of the Quirk family has their own special power: Grandma a miniature fairy prefers living outdoors, Grandpa shifts time, Mom performs mind control, nine-year-old Penelope has a wild imagination, and Finn the feisty troublemaking  little brother appears invisible to everyone except the one “normal” member of the family,  Penelope’s twin sister, Molly. After living in 26 different towns, forced to move each time by mishaps involving her family’s magical powers, nine-year-old Molly is determined to help them stay in Normal. This proves problematic after many unfortunate incidents, especially when their trip to her mother’s restaurant turns into chaos because invisible little brother Finn wreaks havoc by invading the glass case, and helping himself to a bite of each dessert. The cartoonlike humorous black and white illustrations, and outrageous accidents caused by the family’s quirks keeps the reader routing for a happy ending. Through it all the bond of support and love the family shares, and Molly’s discovery that she has the most helpful special power of all, make this a satisfying tale. Give this one to fans of Ingrid Law’s Savvy, with characters who also have powers they can’t always control.
Family life-Fiction              Martha Lambertsen, Wallingford Elementary School

Abdel-Fattah, Randa. The Friendship Matchmaker: Goes Undercover. New York: Walker Books, 2013. 978-0-8027-3485-3. $16.99. 208p. Gr. 4-7.
In The Friendship Matchmaker: Goes Undercover, seventh grader Lara formerly Potts County Middle School’s Official Matchmaker, decides that kids at her school can make their own friends this year, now that she has a best friend, Tanya. Told through instant messages, friend profiles, handwritten lists, and prose, readers will have no trouble relating to Lara social media filled world. Her old customers from her BFF agency, eager for advice continue to request her friendship help. The temptation is too great to resist and Lara finds herself going “undercover,” continuing to match up and help classmates. The stakes get higher when Chris, the best athlete and also the meanest bully, demands that she find him a friend. Chris’ bullying effectiveness has diminished with the arrival of Majur, an orphan   refugee from Sudan, who turns out to be outstanding at soccer, outplaying Chris on the soccer field. This story covers relevant issues for tweens such as, loneliness, social insecurities, and refraining from managing social relationship for others. Despite her obvious weaknesses, Lara is kind and helpful to others.  This sequel to The Friendship Matchmaker, can be enjoyed as a series or on its own, especially for girls who prefer realistic school fiction with lots of social drama.
School Stories-Fiction             Martha Lambertsen, Wallingford Elementary School

Lassieur, Allison. You Choose: Survival (series). Can You Survive Being Lost at Sea? : An Interactive Survival Adventure. North Mankato: Capstone, 2013. 978-1-4296-6861-3. 112 p.  $23.49. Gr. 3-6.
What happens if  you’re relaxing on vacation at sea, and something goes wrong? In three realistic scenarios Can You Survive Being Lost at Sea? takes the reader through only part of  life threatening adventures, leaving it up to them to make the decisions that will seal their fate. The three adventures, Crash Landing, Adrift in Paradise, and Alone in the Ocean all have a series of endings based on the reader’s choices leading to life or death. Full of facts and nonstop action each escapade is a real page turner. All of the plentiful color photos include small fact boxes containing  facts such as, “Some species of porcupine puffer fish are deadly to eat.” At the end of the book there are four mini accounts of “Real Survivor” stories, as well as a survivor quiz, glossary, index, and a “Read More” list of books and web site. This extreme survival title will have great appeal for boys and reluctant readers.
 613.6; Survival at Sea              Martha Lambertsen, Wallingford Elementary School

Chew, Ruth. A Matter of Fact Magic Book (series). No Such Thing as a Witch. New York: Random House, 2013. 978-0-449-81559-5.  115 p. $15.99. Gr. 2-4.
Nora and Tad are shocked to see a squirrel reading a tiny newspaper on their fence. Could it have anything to do with the strange new neighbor who is attracting the interest of their dog, neighborhood cats, and other animals? After deciding she must be a witch, their curiosity lures them next door to meet her. This kind old lady, Maggie Brown offers them delicious fudge they can’t resist; with a warning to only eat one piece a day. After devouring a piece of fudge and feeling strange, Tad can’t help but eat another, that’s when he finds himself able to talk to animals. No Such Thing as a Witch contains just enough magic to ignite readers’ imagination. Reminiscent of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories and Daniel Pinkwater’s  new Mrs. Noodlekugel series, this easy to read magical story with spare black and white illustrations, will be a sure hit with early chapter book Magic Tree House fans.
Witches -Fiction                           Martha Lambertsen, Wallingford Elementary School

Jonell, Lynne. Magical Mixups (series). Grasshopper Magic. New York: Random House, 2013. 978-0-375-87084-2. 114 p. $12.99. Gr. 2-4.
Abner Willow, during his parents’ party, finds himself cornered and convinced by Mrs. Gofish, from the Historical Society, to make a speech before the whole town during the Willow Day Festival. Obviously regretting his promise, his brother and sister begin to make clucking, chicken noises, suggesting Abner practice with bravery lessons. The perfect opportunity occurs when dressmaker Mrs. Delgado, while preparing his costume, notices a jar of grasshoppers caught by the Willow children. She eagerly roasts and serves them up as a tasty treat. To prove his bravery, oldest brother Abner pops one into his mouth. His sister joins him and before long, both siblings go BOING, bouncing in the air fueled with “grasshopper magic.” The suspense intensifies as the Willow children anticipate the “grasshopper magic” dangers awaiting Mrs. Delgado’s toddler when she gives him some of the roasted grasshoppers. With lively animated black and white illustrations, this exciting easy to read magic adventure will appeal to young chapter book readers, who will soon demand the other titles in this clever series.
Courage-Fiction                         Martha Lambertsen, Wallingford Elementary School

Porter, Esther. What’s Sprouting in my Trash?: A Book about Composting. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2013. 978-1-6206-5047-9. $19.99. 32 p. Gr. Pre-K-2.
A perfect book to help celebrate Spring and Ecology. A photo album and text shows students exactly what happens in a compost bin. Be prepared for “yucks” and “yeahs” when you reach the worm page. The colors in the photos are bright and clear and there is a recipe for creating compost in a jar, which would be a great science project for Earth Week. Teaching the cycle of life and earth science is important to all of us.  The book includes Glossary, Index, reading suggestions, and Internet suggestions.  On Capstone’s website, the book is a part of a series entitled Earth Matters.
631.8: Fertilizers, soil conditioners, growth regulators
Lourie Stewart, Dunbar Township/Dunbar Borough Elementary Schools

Water Babies (series). New York: Bearport Publishing Company, Inc., 2013. 24 p. (each book). $127.92 set, $15.99 ea., Reading Level: 2.0, Interest Level: preK-3, Common Core: Reading Standards for Informational Text. 
Owen, Ruth. Manatee Calves. 978-1-61772-599-9.
Owen, Ruth. Orca Calves. 978-1-61772-600-2.
Owen, Ruth. Penguin Chicks. 978-1-61772-602-6.
Owen, Ruth. Sea Otter Pups. 978-1-61772-601-9.
Owen, Ruth. Seahorse Fry. 978-1-61772-604-0.
Owen, Ruth. Seal Pups. 978-1-61772-605-7.
Owen, Ruth. Sea Turtle Hatchlings. 978-1-61772-603-3.
Oldfield, Dawn Bluemel. Water Frog Polliwogs. 978-1-61772-606-4.
*This series was not listed on the original BOB list but with Bearport Publishing on that list, this series is something worth noting. “Everybody loves babies.” This series takes that phase and presents 8 wonderful very easy to read books about water babies. Not only do the books have many up close and personal color photos, the information is laid out in a left to right manner, making reading easier for the most reluctant reader. Small graphics show sizes of the animals in relation to items children are familiar with. The individual books are of the same format making for ease of read. A Glossary and Index is included in each book, and there are online resources at the Bearport website. This series has been “kid tested” in my k-6 library and is one of the library’s most popular series. More information at the Bearport Publishing website.
597-599 Animals
Lourie Stewart, Dunbar Township/Dunbar Borough Elementary Schools

Hile, Lori.  Mermaids (Solving Mysteries with Science series).  North Mankato, MN: Heinemann/Raintree, 2013.  978-1-410949899. $31.43. Gr. 3 -6.
Beginning with the oldest tales of mermaid and merman sightings in the Dark Ages to relatively modern accounts of these encounters, the author does a good job building the intrigue about these creates that have fascinated us through time. The scientific method is then used to help the reader deconstruct myth and compare the stories with the facts. Beautifully illustrated, it contains photographs of sea creatures like manatees and walruses (could they be mistaken for merfolk?) as well as hoaxes, and a description of the rare birth defect which results in a baby’s legs being fused together. The book wraps it all up with a timeline and a “Summing Up the Science” hypotheses vs. science graphic. Contains  glossary, sources for further research and an index. Very well done, highly recommended for your mermaid fans!
398.21: Mermaids                 Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School

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