Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #7

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where people like me can showcase our new books of the week and make you jealous!

I'm back! Sorry about being away so much time, between work and well, life, I didn't have much energy to blog. I'm also reading less, which isn't making me happy, but I'm starting to read again. Tomorrow I'll go to the beach and I my plan is to read :)

Anyway, I got some books these weeks. All of them are spanish editions:

Fate (Hado) by Amanda Hocking

Marcelo in the Real World (Marcelo en el mundo real) by Francisco X. Stork (I love this cover!)

War Horse (Caballo de Guerra) by Michael Morpurgo

I almost forgot, I just got free for Kindle:

Cherry On Top by Kathleen Long

What did you get this week? Have you read any of these books?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Resisters #2: Sterling Squadron by Eric Nylund -ADVISABLE

Nylund, Eric The Resisters #2: Sterling Squadron 320 pgs. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012. $14.67.  (Rating: G)
Ethan is a 12 year old whose life has changed drastically recently (in first book). He is now a pilot trainee for those who resist the aliens, Ch’zar, which have taken over earth. Ethan pilots a mechanical fighting bug, a wasp, which are part biological and tough as steel. He takes risks and that doesn’t go over well. But, he knows that risks are needed if they are to save their home base, the seed bank. All of their lives are on the line, so Ethan must be more than brave, he must be smart, and find his confidence.
This was an awesome book! Despite being a second book, it can easily function as a stand-alone (but I want the first book!!). The plot was creative, action packed, and interesting. I had initially dreaded reading the book because the cover looks kind of Power Rangers, but it was an excellent read that I think students will love! It was has quite a few genres/themes intersecting in an interesting way…sci-fi, end of the world as we know it, alien invasion, and coming of age. Entertaining!!
ELEMENTARY – ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate & Author.

Oopsy Daisy (Flower Power Book 3) by Lauren Myracle –OPTIONAL

Myracle, Lauren Oopsy Daisy (Flower Power Book 3) 352 pgs. Amulet Books, 2012. $12.28.  (Rating: PG Swearing: PG via 2 body part words)
This is the continuing story of four 5th grade girls who are best friends. They each have different things going on in their lives, and are very different in some ways, similar in others. Violet has to worry about her mom, who just got out of the mental hospital. Yasaman loves her teacher so much, she wants to set her up with another single teacher at the school. Milla is worried about a sweet girl that has taken up with the grade bully. Katie Rose is trying to figure out how to get the attention of her crush. Everything comes together at Kids Night In, a big sleepover for all the students.
This was a really long book, with not enough plot or action to carry me through. The four girls were so similar in personality (despite  efforts to point out their cultural and family differences), that I was having trouble telling them apart. While I think this is a pretty good example of real11 year olds,but I am not sure any 11 year old wants to read about daily events like this for 352 pages.
ELEMENTARY – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate & Author.

Justin Case (Book 2) by Rachel Vail -OPTIONAL

Vail, Rachel and Illustrated by Cordell, Matthew Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom (Book 2) 192 pgs. Feiwel & Friends, 2012. $11.92.  (Rating: G)
Justin decides to go to a sports based summer camp, the problem is that he really isn’t into sports –especially swimming. Even when he realizes he is having a horrible time, especially when he feels compelled to play the painful game called knuckles, he persists. Justin eventually makes friends and finds a bit of courage.
I actually thought this book was pretty whitty, but the storyline was kind of torturous to read.  Justin has a lot of insightful things to say, but joining him for the much dreaded summer camp, every day, the whole summer detailed, lots of pages –well I sort couldn’t wait until the ‘summer’ was over. I think students will not enjoy reading about a boring summer, but I would love to read more from this author in the future  -in a different genre or age bracket.
ELEMENTARY – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate & Author.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide by Rick Riordan-ADVISASBLE

Riordan, Rick, The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide. Disney Hyperion, 2012. Pgs. 141. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

Meet Sadie and Carter Kane. After their mother died, Sadie went to live with her grandparents in England and Carter stayed living with his father, who is always traveling. When their father disappears while performing a bizarre ritual at the British Museum in London, Sadie and Carter soon discover that their father has somehow awakened the gods of Ancient Egypt and at least one of them is evil. In this survival guide, readers will learn everything they need to know about the Egyptian Gods, Sadie and Carter, and the other Kane family relatives. Everything they need to know to read the Kane Chronicles series.

Chock full of facts and illustrations, this well-laid out guide with interesting facts about Egypt, this book is the perfect guide for Riordan fans. EL (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.  

Ask Amy Green by Sarah Webb-ADVISABLE

Webb, Sarah, Ask Amy Green: Bridesmaid Blitz. Candlewick Press, 2012. Pgs. 210. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: PG
Amy’s family life continues to be complicated, realistic, and interesting in this 3rd installment of Green. Amy and her friend, Milla, are still navigating the complications of boyfriends and being teenagers. But, with Amy’s step-mom being preggers , Mom dealing with the stress of planning her wedding, and her boyfriend’s mom dealing with cancer, will she be able to balance Clover’s article with everything else?
An upbeat, realistic fiction book with loveable characters. A must read for all tweens and early teen girls.  EL (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Jessica Moody, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

Long Story Short by Sioban Parkinson-OPTIONAL

Parkinson, Sioban, Long Story Short. Roaring Brook Press, 2011. Pgs. 151. Language: PG-13 (4 swears, 2 ”f”s), Violence: PG-13, Sexual Content: PG

14-year-old Jonathan and his 8-year-old sister are family. Dad left them and mom turned into an alcoholic. In an attempt to help his sister escape from being beaten anymore by mom, they runaway together. Only Jonathan can’t take care of his sister and tries to drop her off at their father’s home. In the process, he gets caught by the police and charged with the murder of his mother. Jonathan is read to end it all, but a social worker comes to his aid and tells him how much his sister needs him. Can Jonathan find a way to be there for his sister?

The Irish dialect is a little hard to understand and the content is a little hard to take in. The plot, however,  is well-developed and the reader can’t help but feel sympathy for the characters as they come full circle and learn one of the greatest lessons in life. Readers who like books with mature content as found in books by authors like Walter Dean Myers and Laurie Halse Anderson and deal with self-discovery and dysfunctional families will enjoy reading this book. MS, HS. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

A Little Sale...

Books for Sale!

I'm going away for a long weekend (conference down near home, so making the most of it) and thought I'd try something... I've been having a sort-out, and have quite a few books I don't need any more.  I'm also somewhat in need of monies at the moment, what with an unfunded DPhil and all, so I thought I'd copy an idea Rachel had a while ago, and put up my old books for sale.  I think some of them might appeal.  Hope you don't mind this swerve away from normal blog posts - but I think it could be win-win for us both.

Because of postage costs, this is just for people in the UK - but if you see something you really like, then email me and we can try to work something out!

To make things simple, they're £4 each, 3 for £10, including postage.  Pick the one(s) you want, and email me at simondavidthomas[at] (and maybe stake your claim in the comments) - payment would have to be by cheque, or bank transfer, or Paypal.

With every order, if you like, I'll include one of my sketches.  Just say 'yes please, sketch!' with your email.  (Feel free to pick one from the archives - links in the left column - or I'll pick one.)

I don't know if this is going to be wildly successful or a complete dud, but I thought it would be worth a shot!  There are pictures of them all below, and a list at the bottom (I'll delete them from the list as they go... pictures might not be updated).  I wish I could just post them all off for free, but it would leave me very skint!

Normal service will resume next Tuesday :)

The Upright Piano Player - David Abbott
A Long, Long Way - Sebastian Barry
Discipline - Mary Brunton
Cloud 9 - Caryl Churchill
Youth and other stories - Joseph Conrad
Under Western Eyes - Josephn Conrad
Old Men Forget - Duff Cooper
The New House - Lettice Cooper
The Ridleys - Richmal Crompton
Weatherley Parade - Richmal Crompton
Mariana - Monica Dickens
The Bookshop - Penelope Fitzgerald
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita - Rumer Godden
Island Magic - Elizabeth Goudge
The Ivory Tower - Henry James
The Gingerbread Woman - Jennifer Johnson
Kim - Rudyard Kipling
The Village - Marghanita Laski
Little Boy Lost - Marghanita Laski
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town - Stephen Leacock
Babbit - Sinclair Lewis
The World My Wilderness - Rose Macaulay
Greenery Street - Denis Mackail
If I May - A.A. Milne
Once on a Time - A.A. Milne
The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet - Benjamin Hoff
The Empty Room - Charles Morgan
White Boots - Noel Streatfeild
Love Letters - Leonard Woolf and Trekkie Ritchie Parsons
A Haunted House - Virginia Woolf
A Book of One's Own: People and their Diaries - Thomas Mallon

Jack Maroo by Jon U- OPTIONAL

U, Jon. Jack Maroo. Illustrated by Mark Carpenter.  28 pgs.  CreateSpace, 2011.  $(no price listed).  G- PICTURE BOOK.  This is a rhyming story about a boy named Jack Maroo and his adventures with his friend, Suzie Q.  Jack and Suzie Q go fishing along with Suzie Q’s cow named Moo.  The illustrations are very descriptive and detailed.  The rhyming is well done.  At the end of the book there are extra blank pages where the reader can draw his/her own Jack Maroo adventure.  EL (K-3).  OTIONAL.  Reviewer: SL. 

Wrong Way by Mark Macleod- ADVISABLE

Macleod, Mark. Wrong Way.  Illustrated by Judith Rossell. 32 pgs.  Kane/Miller Book Publishers.   $14.99.  G- PICTURE BOOK.  Mother Duck and her three ducklings are out for a walk.  Right Way and Your Way and very obedient ducklings and do whatever their mother asks.  Wrong Way, on the other hand, seems to always do things differently.  Mother Duck wants to teach them how to swim and takes her ducklings off to the pond.  Getting there is almost more than she can bear because Wrong Way is walking the wrong way, hiding in bushes, and playing in puddles.  Mother Duck wonders if they will not only make it to the pond, but whether it’s even worth the effort.  In the end swimming lessons are successful, even if Wrong Way does it his OWN way!  This is an adorable book about finding that fine line between being stubborn and being individual.  We laughed at the adventures and loved the surprise ending to this sweet book.  Pre-K.  EL (K-3).  ADVISABLE.  Reviewer: SL.

C.R. Mudgeon by Leslie Muir- ADVISABLE

Muir, Leslie. C.R. Mudgeon. Illustrated by Julian Hector.  32 pgs.  Atheneum Books for Young Readers.  $15.99.  Content: G PICTURE BOOK.  The hedgehog, C.R. Mudgeon, likes his life just the way it is.  His world it perfect to him, everything routine and predictable.  When a new neighbor moves in, C.R. Mudgeon’s world is turned upside down.  Suddenly his is faced with new noises, new smells, new creatures that upset his routine.  C.R. Mudgeon is simply beside himself and tries desperately to find a way to get rid of Paprika the squirrel but with no luck.  In the end, he realizes that a little newness to his old routine is not such a bad thing and he finds a friend along the way.  We enjoyed this book.  It could be the prefect springboard for discussing changes that often occur in life.  Pre-K.  EL (k-3).  ADVISABLE. Reviewer: SL.    

Wolf Won't Bite! by Emily Gravett- ESSENTIAL

Gravett, Emily. Wolf Won’t Bite!
32 pgs.  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.  $16.99. Content: G PICTURE BOOK. For those who loved the story of the Three Little Pigs, this is a must.  In a wolf/pig reversal, the pigs do everything they can to tease and taunt the wolf, knowing that surely he won’t bite!  Or will he?  With the repetition of “wolf won’t bite” students can predict text and help read aloud.  The illustrations are simple and drawn on mostly white backdrop yet detailed enough to tell the story by themselves.  We loved this book!  Pre-K.  EL (K-3).  ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer: SL.

Clorinda Plays Baseball by Robert Kinerk- ADVISABLE

Kinerk, Robert. Clorinda Plays Baseball!  Illustrated by Steven Kellogg.  40 pgs.  Simon & Schuster, 2012.  $16.99.  Content: G PICTURE BOOK.  Clorinda is a friend to everyone around her.  Her greatest dream is to play baseball for the Bosstown Red Hats.  Little does she know that in an effort to help her friend Deke, the neighbor boy, her dream will eventually come true in a surprising way. The illustrations are unique to Steven Kellogg and we loved every page.  There are a lot of themes found in this simple and adorable book.  This book could be used with a unit on friendship, sports, and helping others.  Pre-K.  EL (K-3).  ADVISABLE.  Reviewer: SL. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face by Paul Acampora-ADVISABLE

Acampora, Paul, Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face. Roaring Brook, Press, 2011. Pgs. 168. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

Zachary is the new kid in a small town and needs a friend. His new neighbors, Rachel and Teddy begin to fill the void his mom created when she left him and his father, but will his new friends finally make it so he can make a new place for himself?

The plot is really thin, but endearing. The characters are well-developed and grow together into a more mature friendship. Both boys and girls will find something to real tot in this delightful summertime adventure. EL (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.