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Showing posts from July, 2018

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

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Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love Purchased at Barnes & Noble NYC Story: Heading home from the swimming pool, Julián and his abuela see mermaids on the subway. His imagination soars as he reads his book because, "Julián LOVES mermaids," telling his grandmother, "Abuela, I am also a mermaid." While Abuela is taking a bath, Julián becomes a mermaid, using ferns fronds, flowers and the lacy curtains. When Abuela emerges from her bath, her silence and stern expression give Julián (and the reader) a pregnant, slightly tense, pause.
She disappears and returns, holding something behind her back (readers paying close attention to the illustrations will notice that Abuela's post-bath dress is the same color and pattern as the generous fish from Julián's mermaid fantasy). Reaching out, a necklace in her hand, she says, "For you, Julián." Hand in hand, the two head out the house and towards the beach where Julián sees more mermaids. "Like you, mijo. …

The Misfits CLub by Kieran Crowley, 311 pp, RL 4

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The Misfits Club by Kieran Crowley Cover art by Rachel Sanson Review Copy from the Author Plot: Of the town where this novel takes place, travel writer Willam Wrydaughter said, "the only good thing that occurred in the two days I spent there was that I solved a centuries-old medical dilemma: I had finally found the cure for insomnia, and it's name was Newpark." Despite this reputation, or perhaps because of it, the Misfits Club, started by twins, Sam and Chris, and friends Brian and Hannah when they were eight, the club has never once seen any action or solved a mystery. Even worse, at the end of the summer, the Misfits Club will be disbanding when Sam and Chris move to Galway. When Amelia arrives in Newpark to "help" her gran on the farm for the summer, the friends invite her into their club with a game of "Gravest Danger," a combination board game/adventure game that finds them at a haunted cottage in the woods photographing a ghost. Determined to solv…

My Boyfriend is a Bear, written and illustrated by Pamela Ribon and illustrated by Cat Farris, 168 pp, RL: YOUNG ADULT

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My Boyfriend is a Bear  written by Pamela Ribon  and illustrated by Cat Farris Purchased at The Strand Book Store Story: After a disastrous camping trip with Nora's latest insufferable hipster boyfriend (he brings his acoustic guitar, decants their wine in the wild and berates her for bringing a fashion magazine and not Jack Kerouac) she gives up on men, but not love. Her new boyfriend finds her while leaving the wilds in search of water and food amidst a drought. He checks a lot of boxes, including wrapping Nora in a bear hug each night as they fall asleep. Nora reads up on bears and even dresses him in her ex-boyfriend's Arcade Fire concert shirt. She even takes him to brunch to meet her two best friends, Debra and Carly. Yes, there are definitely challenges (his appetite, his size, his impending hibernation) but there are also bright spots. The bear builds a series of shelves for Nora's cat to perch on - and stay out from under his massive foot - and entertains her friends…

Copy Cat by Ali Pye

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Copy Cat by Ali Pye Review Copy fromNosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press Story: Bella wants to be just like Anna and copies everything she does, but Anna doesn't like being copied. Sadly, Bella goes off on her own. Finding a jump rope, Bella starts skipping, practicing until she masters that skill, not realizing that Chloe is watching her. When Chloe says she wishes she could jump rope like Bella, Bella responds, "It's easy! Just copy me!" Soon, Bella, Chloe and Anna are all playing together. Pictures: Copy Cat is rich with cool blues, greens and pinks with pops of orange and yellow and hot pink. Pye's cats are adorable and boisterous and perfect stand-ins for real kids. The emotional and physical energy of the characters jump off the page. Why Read? Why Buy?: Read Copy Cat because, if you have ever been around a preschooler or first grader, you know that copying (and tattling) is HUGE. Kids will totally relate to this book AND get the message of the story, whic…

PLAY by Jez Alborough

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PLAY! by Jez Alborough Review Copy from Candlewick Press Story: In 2000, Bobo the baby chimp wanted a hug and wandered the jungle looking for one until, happily, he found his mommy. Alborough's (almost) one-word-book HUGstarted what turned into a series with TALL, YES and now PLAY, and became my youngest son's favorite book when he was a toddler. With one word driving the plot in each book, Alborough's charming chimp capably carries each story, completely engaging readers with his toddler-like antics. In PLAY, Mommy tells Bobo it's bedtime, tucking him into his treetop bed, but he wants to play. With the help of a giraffe, he heads off into the jungle and has a fine time - until it grows dark and he wants his Mommy. Pictures: Alborough's illustrations are magnificent. Rich in color and detail, his characters are expressive and warm and readers relate to them. With a story short on text, this makes all the difference. And, it makes this series perfect for non-reading c…

Neon Leon by Jane Clarke, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

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Neon Leon by Jane Clarke,  illustrated byBritta Teckentrup Review Copy fromNosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press Story: Leon is a chameleon who is neon all the time. He travels to different chameleon communities and habitats, hoping to blend in, but he just can't find a place where he fits in instead of standing out. With a happy ending, Leon not only finds a place where he fits in, he also finds a friend who looks just like him! Pictures: I have reviewed many of Teckentrup's books and love her illustration style. Her palette is always out of the ordinary, as is her collage-style, which stands out on the shelves. Why Read? Why Buy?: With call-and-response and questioning aspects to the story, Neon Leon makes for a great read out loud, especially to preschoolers. While adults will see the ending coming, Clarke keeps readers engaged as Leon searches for somewhere to fit in. Buy Neon Leon if you like beautifully illustrated picture books that invite reader participation or if you …

Children of Bone and Blood by Tomi Adeyemi, 544 pp, RL: TEEN

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi Purchased Audio Book Plot: Seventeen-year-old Zélie Adebola's magical powers had yet to emerge when King Saran began the maji genocide of Orïsha that took the life of her mother, a powerful Reaper who could summon forth souls. Eleven years before the start of the novel, all magical adults - Reapers, Burners, Tiders and more - were hunted and brutally murdered, but children, who would not grow into their magical powers until the age of thirteen, were were left untouched. Their magical powers suppressed and hidden, along with the white hair and dark skin color that identify them, maji are living a grim life of serfdom under the king's rule while the gentry bleach their skin and refer to maji as "maggots." A chance encounter in the marketplace where Zélie is trying to sell fish to pay the ever increasing taxes of King Saran ends with her village burned to the ground and Zélie, her older brother Tzain and Nailah, Zélie's pet l…

Goldie Vance: Volume 1 by Hope Larson, Brittney Williams and Sarah Stern, 112 pp, RL: MIDDLE GRADE

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Goldie Vance: Volume 1 Created by Hope Larson & Brittany Williams Written by Hope Larson, illustrated by Brittany Williams Colors by Sarah Stern, letters by Jim Campbell Purchased Copy from Books Inc. Story: Larson (A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, Compass South Series, All Summer Long) does a stellar job writing this better-than-Nancy-Drew girl detective series. It's 1962 and sixteen-year-old Marigold (Goldie) Vance is a valet at the Crossed Palms Resort in the seaside town of St. Pascal, Florida, where her father is the general manager. The former Mrs. Vance works as a live mermaid at a nearby club. Goldie and her dad live at the Crossed Palms Resort and it is Goldie's life dream to become the in-house detective for the hotel. Fortunately, Charles, the in-house detective, lets Goldie tag along on (and even help) on cases. In this first volume of what is now a four volume series, Goldie helps Charles recover a stolen necklace, breaking a few rules (and laws) along the way…