Friday, October 10, 2014

Pranks and Attacks!

Pranks and Attacks!
Tao: The Little Samurai #1
by Laurent Richard
illustrated by Nicolas Ryser
Hardcover, 63 pages
Published January 1st 2014 by Graphic Universe 
Tao is an energetic (sometimes) little guy at samurai school. He causes all sorts of mayhem and laughter as he interacts with his fellows students and instructors. His antics are somewhat reminiscent of Dennis the Menace. Despite the setting of a samurai school, the situations he gets himself into will resonate with many young readers. Each page is it's own little vignette of Tao's life. They start with a wise samurai adage that illustrates Tao's personality perfectly. The illustrations are a perfect fit and will entertain readers of all ages. Young fans of Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will appreciate these volumes as well.

Jack the Castaway

Jack the Castaway
The Berenson Schemes #1
by Lisa Doan
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Lerner Classroom
For years, Jack Berenson's parents have flitted about the world trying one get-rich-quick scheme after another. Jack was quite content to live a peaceful and stationary life with his aunt. Unfortunately she died and Jack's parents made the decision to reclaim him before moving onto their next venture - a snorkeling business in the Caribbean. Without any other options Jack tries to make the best of his situation and keep himself and his parents safe. However, that is quite difficult as his parents have no concept of rules and safety. As a result, Jack ends up stranded on a deserted island. He uses his smarts to make a shelter, find food and water and even friends of a sort. The big question is, will his parents find and use their smarts to retrieve their one and only son?
This series opener is a fast and fun read for kids around 3rd grade. The black and white illustrations well-done and add to the quirkiness of the story.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Locker Ate Lucy!

The Locker Ate Lucy!
Eerie Elementary #2
by Jack Chabert
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Scholastic Inc. 
Hall monitor, Sam Graves, is back to save the day once again! His school is aptly named, Eerie Elementary. It is living up to its name by wreaking havoc every chance it can. Sam's friends Lucy and Antonio are determined to help Sam in his daily battle to keep the students safe. Then Lucy is swallowed by her locker and the boys have to venture into the depths of the school to find her. While there they just might uncover the secret to the school's mysteriously creepy soul. This is a perfect choice for those 2nd and 3rd graders that think they love scary books, but aren't ready for truly frightening tales.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Always, Abigail

Always, Abigail
by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Hardcover, 314 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Abigail and her two BFFs are set to realize their life-long dream of being middle school Pom Girls. Up to this point everything they have done was with the dream of pom squad in their heads. Then the unthinkable happens and Abigail is in a different homeroom than the other two. In fact she doesn't have a single class with them, not even lunch. This causes their friendship to be strained as there are secret jokes that AlliCam share, leaving Abigail on the outside. To make matters worse, the dreaded horror of a teacher, Miss Hendrick, creates an assignment where the students have to write "friendly" letters to a partner that she assigns them. Of course, Abigail gets partnered with the most outcast girl in the entire school. Being associated with Gabby is not going to help her already lagging reputation. Always, Abigail presents a fairly realistic view of the roller coaster that is middle school. The format is super reader friendly and will engage many readers with all the lists, diary entries, and doodles. Fans of Dork Diaries will be sure to enjoy this new book that hopefully will become a series.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ick! Yuck! Eew!

Ick! Yuck! Eew!
Our Gross American History
by Lois Miner Huey

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Millbrook Press

Many kids learn to love history by focusing on the grosser things that have happened. I see this all the time in the library I work at. This book is perfect for them, showing a vivid picture of how life was in our early years as a country. Whether it's the lack of indoor plumbing or personal hygiene conveniences, we had kind of a smelly history. Bugs thrived in peoples hair - real or fake and leeches were a common medical cure. Anyone reading this book is bound to gain a greater appreciation for all of the modern privileges and technology we now enjoy.

Before the World Was Ready

Before the World was Ready
Stories of Daring Genius in Science
by Claire Eamer
art by Sa Boothroyd
Hardcover, 125 pages
Published July 11th 2013 by Annick Press 
This is a fun group biography of people who were ahead of their time when it came to ideas of how things work or should work. Though their peers may have thought them crazy, we today know that they were brilliant and contributed greatly to our current society. The format is like that of a chapter book. The sections are short and accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations. The reader will not only learn about the great thinkers themselves but how the world and society has changed over the years. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Burn Out

Burn Out
by Kristi Helvig
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by EgmontUSA 
  Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.
My thoughts:
 I liked this, I think. It was strange and an odd setting, mostly in an underground shelter. The end was fairly abrupt, so I am sure there will be another one. I just don't know yet if I will read it or not.