Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Here is another jaw-dropping celebration of nature from the team of Joyce Sidman (poet) and Beth Krommes (illustrator). This one features spiral forms found on animals and plants, or in the ocean and sky. While the poetry is wonderful, the scratchboard illustrations steal the show. Readers can spend hours finding all the spirals on these pages. End notes add factual details for readers wanting more information about featured animals and plants. This gorgeous book could be a resource for science, and possibly math classes (Fibonacci numbers).
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Hazel's ten-year-old world is full of anxiety thanks to her parents' separation, starting a new school (with a strict teacher), feeling like an outsider, and her neighbor (and best friend) Jack is suddenly spending more time with his male friends than with Hazel.
When a shard from an enchanted mirror gets into Jack's eye, he becomes drugged and somewhat manic under its spell, and he accompanies the Snow Queen into the woods near their neighborhood. Hazel heads into the woods to rescue him, but encounters a myriad group of characters from numerous fairy tales. Will Hazel succeed, or will she be swept up by the challenges of this fantasy world?
Written by Anne Ursu, with illustrations by Erin McGuire, this combination of fantasy and realistic fiction will grab many intermediate readers looking for a good "quest" story.
It has been selected as the December book for NPR's Backseat Book Club, and is getting mentioned as a possible Newbery contender. Here is a link to the NPR information: http://www.npr.org/2011/11/29/142862998/december-kids-book-club-pick-breadcrumbs.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
This story of an abandoned and hungry orange and white cat will pull on your heart strings. Every place the cat goes, people chase him away with the words "Get Out of Here!" One day he is chased by a dog down to the wharf and onto a moored dinghy. Almost immediately, a storm blows in, and the dinghy's mooring rope breaks. The dinghy and cat are awash in a storm. Finally, when the storm subsides, they wash ashore near a cottage where a woman lives alone. Together, these two lonely souls become a new happy family. Written by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Alison Friend, this heart-warming tale will be enjoyed by animal lovers of all ages.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
This debut novel by Susan Niz tells the story of Kara, a teen who has run away from her depressed mother and unhappy homelife. Her sister, who also ran away from home, has a live-in boyfriend, who won't allow Kara to live with them beyond a few days. Even though she has no money, and no form of identification, Kara is determined to make it on her on on the streets of Minneapolis. At times, life is scary and harrowing, but bit-by-bit, Kara starts to find her way. This is an edgy novel from a new author with promise.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The delightful rhyming text of this story expands on the nursery rhyme 'Hickory Dickory Dock', as a cat chases a mouse up the clock, and then around the neighborhood. They are followed by other animals (and people) until midnight arrives, and everyone falls asleep. That is, until 1:00 comes... The book includes information about clocks and telling time in the back. Written by Trudy Harris, illustrated by Minnesotan Carrie Hartman, this might be a resource for telling time units for preschool or primary grades.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Fifteen year old Baxter Green has a perfect memory--for every face, every name, and minute details of everything he has experienced since the age of three. He and his mother have moved from California to Wellington, Minnesota, a fictional town on the Iron Range to escape her ex-boyfriend.
Baxter wants to be a normal kid, and strike up a romance with a girl from his kindergarten class (she has long since forgotten Baxter)--but his unusual memory creates problems at every turn. This coming of age story has several good discussion topics: social issues for kids who are different, environmental and health aspects of taconite mining, and honesty in relationships, for example. It is another thoughtful work by Minnesotan Loretta Ellsworth.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
This is the diary of thirteen-year-old "Coco" Irving, the daughter of Horace and Clotilde Irving, socialites who lived on Summit Avenue in St. Paul in the early 1900's. Coco loved to write, and also get in trouble. Her diary entries frequently begin with the words "through no fault of my own..." The diary recounts one year of Coco's adventures, romances, and youthful problems.
Coco's writing has been published previously; this new edition is from the University of Minnesota Press and includes an introduction by Peg Meier and historical photographs.
Coco and her sister Olivia donated the family home to the state of Minnesota in 1965, and it became the Minnesota Governor's Residence.
This is a fascinating peak inside early 20th century life on Summit Avenue from a young person's perspective.