In a town by the sea, Marianne spends her days digging for dinosaurs on the sandy beach. Nearby fisherfolk worry that the solitary girl should try to find friends instead of bones. But Marianne’s persistence pays off when bone by bone, she assembles a skeleton she dubs ‘Bony.’ As evening falls, Marianne leaves Bony on the beach, promising to return the next day. Before falling asleep, she wishes for the bones to come to life, and under the bright stars, her wish comes true. A longneck dinosaur flies through the sky, picks up Marianne, and she rides on its back as they begin an evening of adventures. From swimming in the ocean to visiting an enchanted forest filled with fairies, unicorns, and giants, it’s definitely a night to remember. Finally, the pair ascend a tall mountain and rise into the clouds, visiting an island populated by other children and their dinosaur friends. Readers will be enchanted by this world filled with gentle dinosaurs and other magical creatures. Watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations in muted tones perfectly mirror the imagination and fantasy of the rhyming text.
THOUGHTS: This fanciful story will be popular with dinosaur lovers, particularly girls. Marianne is a confident and imaginative protagonist who is up for any adventure the evening has in store.
Picture Book Anne Bozievich, Southern York County SD
Tags: Picture book. Dinosaur fiction. Friendship. Stories in rhyme.
Cotton, Katie. The Road Home. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017. 9781419723742. Unpaged. $15.95. Gr. K-2.
In this poetic and comforting tale, animals prepare for winter. Each pair of animals has a goal in mind. The mouse builds a nest underground, and the bird and her chick fly off to a warmer climate. On their journey, the rabbit and her kit find themselves in an alarming situation. They are being pursued by a wolf and cub who feel hunger or that “burning thing that settles like a stone.” The author describes the rabbits’ fear as they try to outrun their predator. The reader is reassured to see that the pair have escaped the hungry wolves and have found safety in their leafy home as night falls. As spring arrives, all the animals return to the meadow, having survived the harsh winter. The illustrator Sarah Jacoby has chosen watercolors in a soft and muted color palette, which helps set the mood of the story. Her engaging drawings take us through the seasons, as the tale begins in late summer and ends in spring. Most of the illustrations are full bleed and are done over a two-page spread. In the drawing of the fall leaves being blown about, one can almost feel and hear the wind. The winter landscape looks bleak and cold, with a blanket of snow topped by thorny bushes. The message here is that whenever parent and child are together, that place is home, no matter how difficult the road was to get there. THOUGHTS: This lyrical story works well in winter-themed storytimes and would make a wonderful bedtime story. Children will enjoy looking at the sweet drawings of the animals. A worthy selection for elementary collections.
Picture Book Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD
Cuevas, Michelle and Sydney Smith. Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow. Dial Books. 2017. 978-0-525-42969-2. $17.99. Unpaged. Gr. K-2.
A shadow’s job is typically to obediently follow you around, but “if life is a book, then Smoot the Shadow has been reading the same yawn-colored page for the last seven and a half years.” One day, Smoot has the chance to live out his dreams and wishes when he comes unstuck from his boy. As Smoot continues his journey, other shadows find courage and try their own fantasies. Smoot worries that this could get out of hand, so the rebellious shadow takes matters into his own shadowy hand, all within the curious eye of his boy. Will they find a connection? Sydney Smith’s gentle wwatercolorswith inky shadows make for an interesting contrast, and Michelle Cuevas keeps her text lyrical and well paced. The shadow of Smoot may just encourage more dreaming and action for other children who are stuck in a rut. THOUGHTS: Smoot would make for a fun twist for science lessons or the old groundhog stories that primary teachers use every year.
Picture Book Dustin Brackbill, State College Area SD
Prasadam-Halls, Smriti. T. Veg. Abrams Books, 2017. 978-1-4197-2494-7. $16.95. Unpaged. Gr. K-2.
Poor Reginald the T. Rex just doesn’t fit in with his jungle friends. He is great at roaring and stomping, but come dinner time, he opts for carrot cake over steak. He attempts to convince his family and friends to try grapes, greens, avocado pie and smoothies, but they insist that a T. Rex should just eat meat, meat, meat. Eventually, the poor little dino, tired of being teased and tormented, packs his bag and runs away, looking to hang out with like-minded herbivores instead. But that proves to be challenging for a variety of reasons, leaving Reg frustrated and alone. However, his friends and family are missing him, too, and when Reg saves the clan from disaster, they finally appreciate the benefits of eating their fruits and veggies. The story is related in rollicking rhyme, and the palate of the bold illustrations bring to mind carrots, peas and eggplant. THOUGHTS: A cute book to underscore the freedom to be different, or to encourage healthy eating.
Picture Book Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor SD
Denos, Julia. Windows. Candlewick, 2017. 978-0-7636-9035-9. $15.99. Unpaged. PreK – 1.
Evening begins to fall and a young boy heads out into his neighborhood, taking his small dog for a walk. As the pair amble past homes and businesses, the boy notices the variety of activities taking place in the windows, eventually returning home to a familiar, welcoming warmth. The detailed illustrations will invite children to closely examine each page and each window to see what is happening. THOUGHTS: Beautifully illustrated, this is a lovely book for one-on-one reading.
Picture Book Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor School District
Calmenson, Stephanie. No Honking Allowed! Holiday House, 2017. 978-0-8234-3672-9. $16.95. Unpaged. Gr. K-2.
Friends (and dinosaurs) Rex and Stego go on a driving adventure in Rex’s car in this rhyming tale from Stephanie Calmenson. Rex is very excited about his car and wants to demonstrate his favorite features: the engine (“vroom”), the brakes (“screech”), and his favorite feature on the vehicle: the horn (“honk!”). In fact, everywhere he goes in the city, Rex wants to honk the horn. But before he can stark honking, Stego points out to him the “No Honking. Except for Safety.” signs posted throughout the city. When a fire truck needs to get through the crowded street, Stego finally gives Rex permission to honk the horn, which Rex does with enthusiasm. But after the fire truck passes, Rex must try to regain control over his urge to honk. THOUGHTS: Sure to be popular with readers, this humorous, rhyming story would be a perfect read-aloud choice. Recommended for schools and classrooms serving younger readers.
Picture Book Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD
Yoon, Salina. That’s My Book! And Other Stories. Bloomsbury, 2017. 978-1-611963-891-4. Upaged. $9.99. Gr. K-2.
Salina Yoon returns with three new stories in the newest installment of Duck, Duck, Porcupine!. In “That’s My Book!”, Porcupine and Big Duck are bored. They ask Little Duck to borrow his books, but instead of reading them, they play dominos, “walk fancy”, and make a stage out of books. This bothers Little Duck, so he takes his books back. When Porcupine and Big Duck find a left-behind book, they open it and learn that reading is fun. Story two, “Let’s Have a Talent Show!”, showcases that everyone has talents even when they don’t know it. Big Duck wants to have a talent show, but Porcupine doesn’t seem to have any talents. He soon realizes, as do the others, that he too has talents they are just different from Big Duck’s talents. In the final story, “Dress-Like-A-Pirate Day”, Porcupine gives Little Duck an eye patch for Dress-Like-A- Pirate Day, but Big Duck doesn’t know it’s that day, so he’s worried that something is wrong with Little Duck because he’s wearing an eye patch and will only say, “Arr!” He misses all of the signs as he tries to figure out what’s wrong with Little Duck. THOUGHTS: All three stories are fun read alouds with elementary students. Each story has a great theme/moral that can lead to great character and kindness discussions. This is a great addition to elementary libraries and classrooms.
Picture Book Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD
Balla, Trace. The Thank You Dish. Kane Miller, 2017. 978-1-61067-644-1. Unpaged. $9.99. Gr. K-2.
The Thank You Dish highlights all of the people and things necessary for one meal. As Grace and her mama sit down to dinner, Mama starts by thanking rain, soil, and the sun for helping with the meal. Grace then begins to add in all of the other animals, people, and things that helped create the meal on her plate. Each page spread uses muted yellows, oranges, and greens and highlights the image of Grace’s thank you. THOUGHTS: Although not a must-have, this is a nice concept book about what it takes to create a meal and also how to show gratitude for what one has. It would be good to read around Thanksgiving or with a kindergarten class learning about kindness.
Picture Book Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD
Sís, Peter. Robinson. Scholastic Press, 2017. 978-0-545-73166-9. 32 pp. $17.99. Gr. Pre-K-2.
A little boy who loves to play pirates with his friends is excited for a Halloween contest at school. His mom suggests he be the character from his favorite book, Robinson Crusoe, and he creates an elaborate costume. The boy is excited, until he gets to school and his friends laugh at him for wearing something so unusual. Upset, the boy goes home to bed and dreams of sailing to an island and living like Crusoe. In the end his friends come over to apologize and learn more about the boy’s favorite book. THOUGHTS: An adventurous read about acceptance and being ok with one’s self. The drawings are typical of Peter Sís, beautiful and soft.
Picture Book Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School
Essential Library of the Information Age. Minneapolis: ABDO, 2017. $24.95ea. $149.70 set of 6. 112p. Gr. 8-12.
Eboch, M.M. Big Data and Privacy Rights. 978-1-68078-282-0.
Higgins, Melissa and Michael Regan. Net Neutrality. 978-1-68078-286-8.
Laine, Carolee. Book Banning and Other Forms of Censorship. 978-1-68078-283-7 .
Laine, Carolee. Content Ownership and Copyright. 978-1-68078-284-4.
Perdew, Laura. Information Literacy in the Digital Age. 978-1-68078-285-1.
Perdew, Laura. Online Identity. 978-1-68078-287-5.
The Essential Library of the Information Age examines the sometimes contentious and controversial issues that are present in today’s digital world. As the internet and digital world has evolved and changed, so too have the ways individuals deal with issues such as privacy, identity, censorship, copyright, access to information, and content ownership. Each volume of this series investigates one of these controversial topics in-depth. Each book includes an overview of the topic under discussion, presented in terms understood by laypeople. Also included is historical background information on the topic. Controversies surrounding each topic are fully discussed, with equal weight given to both sides of the issue. Numerous real-life examples are presented within the text and also included in sidebars. Other sidebars serve to define and further explain information concepts. THOUGHTS: This series does an admirable job of presenting what can be difficult to understand topics (net neutrality, for example) in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. Illustrative examples of issues are relevant to to the topics being discussed and further enhance understanding. Recommend for purchase in schools where research/projects warrant.
Technology Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS
Deadliest Predators. San Diego: Reference Point Press, 2016. $29.95 ea. $179.70 set. 80 pp. Gr. 5 and up.
Abramovitz, Melissa. Deadliest Sharks. 978-68282- 0544.
Altman, Toney. Deadliest Mammals. 978-168282- 00506.
Hirschmann, Kris. Deadliest Reptiles. 978-168282- 0520.
Hirschmann, Kris. Deadliest Snakes. 978-68282- 0568.
Hirschmann, Kris. Deadliest Spiders. 978-68282- 0582.
Nardo, Don. Deadliest Dinosaurs. 978-168282- 0483.
These titles aim to give details on the “deadliest” animals of their type. In Deadly Dinosaurs, this task is done by offering six chapters, each devoted to a different predator: T. Rex (which likely lumbered like an elephant), Carcharodontosaurus (whose first discovered bones were destroyed by a WWII bomb hitting Munich), Spinosaurus (whose bony spinal “sail” could have been used to intimidate predators), Troodon (which appears to have been the smartest of all dinosaurs), Sonorithosaurus (which had feathers and wings—for gliding not flying), and Predator X (the seas’ top predator). Predator X was huge and “had teeth that would have made a T. rex whimper” (60). Not for arachnophobes, Deadliest Spiders provides a detailed view of the world’s spiders to avoid. Photos and illustrations are kept to one per two-page spread, leaving ample room for more detail and color. Six spiders are covered in ten pages each: the Black Widow Spider (and its well-known red marking), the Brazilian Wandering Spider (which wins the title of world’s most venomous spider), the Chilean Recluse (whose venom works to liquefy its victims’ internal organs), Sydney Full-Web Spider (whose nocturnal and underground habits fortunately limit its encounters with humans), the Eastern Mouse Spider (native to Australia), and the Indian Ornamental Tarantula (due to their beautiful markings and calm nature, these are popular as pets). Each spider’s physical characteristics, homeland and hunting patterns are discussed, followed by descriptions of the effects of its venom and a caution to steer clear or proceed cautiously with any spider. Nardo closes with useful source notes, glossary, further research list, and index. THOUGHTS: A descriptive series that will attract readers for its topics and its content.
500s Animals; Dinosaurs Melissa Scott, Shenango High School
Drug Dangers. San Diego: Reference Point Press, 2016. $29.95 ea. $239.60 set. 80 pp. Gr. 5 and up.
Allen, John. The Dangers of Heroin. 978-168282- 0186.
MacKay, Jenny. The Dangers of Hallucinogens. 978-168282- 0162 .
Marcovitz, Hal. The Dangers of Methamphetamine. 978-168282- 0223.
Mooney, Carla. The Dangers of Marijuana. 978-168282- 0209.
Mooney, Carla. The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs. 978-168282- 0261.
Parks, Peggy J. The Dangers of Alcohol. 978-168282- 00124.
Parks, Peggy J. The Dangers of E-Cigarettes. 978-168282- 0148.
Parks, Peggy J. The Dangers of Painkillers. 978-168282- 0247.
Both The Dangers of Hallucinogens and The Dangers of Painkillers are structured with five chapters which cover the scope of the problem, the drug’s effects, how addictive the drug is, treatment options, and prevention of drug abuse. The format is inviting, with photographs, graphs, or sidebars added to enhance the material. The limits of the law are considered, as are challenges to the law, and difficulties that medical professionals regularly see. It is noted that teenage athletes are at risk for painkiller abuse due to injuries for which doctors prescribe painkillers. The “street names of hallucinogens” is a helpful sidebar. THOUGHTS: Overall, this a solid series that updates readers with current situations.
362.29 Drugs and Alcohol Melissa Scott, Shenango High
Stelson, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. New York: Carolrhoda Books, 2016. 978-146788-9035. $19.99. 144pp. Gr. 5-8.
Sachiko Yasui holds memories of her close, loving family. She also holds memories of a desperate war that turned horrific. She lived with her family: mother, father, older brothers Aki and Ichiro, younger sister Misa, and youngest (doted upon) brother Toshi. The war had taken its toll on Japan and food for everyone was scarce. Urging her children to not waste a bit of food or drink, her mother would say, “Every sip is precious.” When Sachiko’s father was drafted into the Japanese army, the family chose to return with him to Nagasaki. It was a fateful decision, for soon thereafter the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima then Nagasaki. Sachiko survived to watch her siblings die, each in a different manner, each due to the effects of the bomb. She endured thyroid cancer treatments and fought back for her physical ability to speak, learning that “every word is precious.” This is her story, told in affecting detail, of the bombing and the aftermath. Despite the horror, this story is un-put-downable and ultimately overflowing with a message of peace and understanding. Over a lifetime of questioning and forming her own perspective on the bombings (informed by the teachings of Gandhi, Helen Keller and Martin Luther King, Jr), Sachiko finally has spoken to many about these events, always urging an end to hatred and war. “Every word is precious.” Well-documented and complete with end notes, glossary, and an author’s note. THOUGHTS: This is a book to promote peace. It would pair well with John Hersey’s Hiroshima.
940.54 World War II Melissa Scott, Shenango High School
Reed, MK. Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers. New York: First Second, 2016. 978-1-62672-144-9. $19.99. Gr 6-12.
Science Comics second graphic novel is an excellent addition to the colorful, descriptive Coral Reefs comic published earlier this year. This volume explores the complex history of dinosaurs in beautiful color illustrations and an easy to read narrative that will appeal most to middle grade readers. The story begins with the history of paleontology, dating back to the discovery of many dinosaur bones during the Industrial Revolution. The scientific rivalries are dramatic enough to keep readers entertained, while the emergence of natural sciences as a discipline will ruminate with those studying the field. Readers will find various bits of trivia spread throughout the book, such as: how dinosaurs are named, where fossils are found, and much more. THOUGHTS: Use this graphic novel and the rest of the Science Comic series to add a fun addition to your nonfiction section; students will enjoy the opportunity to read a comic about science!
567.9; Dinosaurs Vicki Schwoebel, Friends’ Central School
We have an 8th grade science class come in the library weekly for a sustained silent science reading block, so I have made it my mission to update our science nonfiction and add titles that middle schoolers want to read. I normally book talk a few titles at the beginning of this block, and I always make sure to highlight a variety of books that will appeal to different readers. We had a few nonfiction graphic novels that always seemed to get scooped up quickly, so I am excited that there will be more titles in the Science Comics series. We plan to add them all to our collection as they are published, and I imagine they will continue to circulate while we partner with the 8th grade science class in the future.
Cordell, M.R. Courageous Women of the Civil War. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2016. 978-1-61373-200-7. $19.99. 230p. Gr. 7-12.
The often overlooked contributions that women made to the Civil War effort are the focus of this engaging title. Cordell profiles 16 Union and Confederate women who defied the expectations of the times and left their homes to become actively involved in the war. Some picked up arms, disguised themselves as men and joined up as soldiers. Other women served as spies, as nurses or as vivandieres (women attached to military units as sutlers and canteen bearers). The text is enhanced by sidebars that explain various aspects of the war. Also of note are the numerous historical photos, including photos showing many of the female soldiers in their male soldier disguises. THOUGHTS: This engaging title will appeal to all students, not just Civil War aficionados. The women profile led fascinating and action-packed lives and readers will find themselves drawn into their stories. The role of women in the war is not always discussed in history texts; this book helps to fill this void. Recommended for purchase in secondary schools.
973.7; Civil War Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS
Henkes, Kevin. When Spring Comes. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2016. 978-0-06233-139-7. 32p. $17.99. Gr K-2.
Through spare verse and vibrant illustrations, this book celebrates all the small changes that occur as winter melts into spring. Opening pages describe trees blossoming, eggs hatching, and gardens sprouting. Additional pages depict children blowing bubbles in grassy meadows, stomping through mud puddles, flying kites, and riding bikes. Sharp-eyed readers will also notice all the animals that emerge in spring: kittens, ladybugs, butterflies, worms, bees, and rabbits. THOUGHTS: The large font size and full-bleed acrylic illustrations draw readers in, and literary devices such as repetition and alliteration add to the cheerful mood.
Picture Book Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary School, Southern York County
This book is perfect for discussing information about changing seasons with the youngest readers, and I plan to share it with my kindergarten teachers. It will be a great conversation starter as students listen to the story, view the illustrations, and share seasonal changes they’ve noticed as well. Kevin Henkes fans will not be disappointed.
Yolen, Jane. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends? New York: The Blue Sky Press, 2016. 978-0-545-82934-2. 32pp. $16.99. Gr K-2.
The tenth title in Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs… series explores what makes friendships strong. The rhyming text unfolds in a large, easy-to-read font, and young readers are asked whether behaviors such as destroying a friend’s toys, pushing each other, screaming, and tattling to teachers are acceptable. Then, healthy, friendly behaviors are modeled, such as writing apology notes, sharing toys, and taking turns when playing together. The message that even though friends may sometimes fight, there’s always a way to make things right shines through clearly. THOUGHTS: Young readers will love watching their favorite prehistoric creatures in familiar scenarios, and this book will be useful as a conversation starter about how to make and keep friends. Thanks to their large trim size and vibrant illustrations, the other titles in this series are popular with my kindergarten students, and I anticipate this one being a winner as well.
Picture Book Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County
Macy, Sue. Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. 978-1-4814-0120-3. $17.99. Gr. 1-4.
Mary, a tomboy who loved all sports, was looked down on for playing tackle football with the boys and writing a sports newspaper for her grandparents rather than a nice letter. When she graduated from college, Mary wanted to write for the newspaper. The only job a female reporter could get was writing about social events and fashionable parties. Mary persevered and World War II afforded her the opportunity to fill in as a sports writer. Still, though, she faced many barriers and prejudices; at some games she wasn’t allowed to sit in the Press Box. Citing Jackie Robinson as a role model, Mary didn’t let the fact that she wasn’t allowed in the locker rooms deter her. She became known for the quality and positivity of her writing. Readers, coaches and athletes came to know and respect her. For over fifty years Mary Gaber reported on sports, and made history doing it. THOUGHTS: I loved this book. Its powerful story of a pioneering woman breaking into a male-dominated field is complemented by surprisingly striking illustrations.
Biography Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School
Yolen, Jane and Mark Teague. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? New York: The Blue Sky Press, 2015. 978-0-439-24104-5. $16.99. Grades PreK–2.
The latest addition to Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs… series explores ways to stay safe while still enjoying everyday activities. The rhyming text unfolds in a large, easy-to-read font size, and readers are asked whether behaviors such as climbing high ladders, riding a bike without a helmet, running down the stairs, and jumping on beds are safe. Then, safe behaviors are modeled, including holding an adult’s hand when crossing the street, not going off with strangers, and staying in a parent’s sightline while swimming. Young readers will love watching their favorite prehistoric creatures in everyday scenarios, and parents will find lots of conversation starters in this easily-accessible, yet not preachy, text.
Picture Book Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York Co.
This title will be a great addition to units about staying safe, and I plan to pair it with Peggy Rathmann’s Officer Buckle and Gloria. Other titles in the How Do Dinosaurs… series are very popular with my kindergarten students, and this one has been a winner as well. The bright illustrations draw students in, and their large scale allows readers to linger over the details.