An Original DUCKumentary (Nature Series). DVD. 60 min. Prod. by Thirteen. Dist. by PBS Dist. 2012. ISBN 978-1-60883-810-3. $19.99.
Gr 6 Up–Many colorful and fascinating examples of the over 120 species of ducks are presented via fantastic photography in this production. Paul Giamatti narrates in a friendly, unobtrusive way, sharing many facts while keeping a loose narrative of a Wood duck family. Throughout are breathtaking visuals, not only of unusual ducks with iridescent plumage, but remarkable underwater shots of ducks diving for clams in the Arctic, baby ducklings jumping from a nest high up in trees several feet to the ground when their wings aren’t yet formed, and more. There’s much to be learned about the two different kinds of flight, nesting, and common predators. Fascinating tidbits are also presented, such as the fact that ducks were one of the first creatures to return from land to the sea, there is a waxy gland that ducks use to groom their feathers that make them waterproof, and some ducks have a special circulation in their legs and webbed feet to preserve their high body temperature while in icy water. The only minor drawback is that not every species is identified during the program—but at the end, instead of listing a cast, the producers show photos of the ducks and identify them. This winning production features everything a strong educational program should have—lots of information, riveting footage, and articulate narration.–C. A. Fehmel, St. Louis County Library, MO
Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement. DVD. 32 min. Filmakers Library. 2012. ISBN unavail. $199.
Gr 9 Up–African American social activist Julian Bond tells his family’s story: a struggle for equality. Tracing his roots back to slavery, Bond recounts the family’s tradition of hard work and an emphasis on education as a means for advancement. Using historical film footage and still photographs, a female voice speaking as Bond’s mother, and scenes of Bond lecturing in his classroom at the University of Virginia, he reviews his participation in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), his role at the 1963 March on Washington, his service in the Georgia House and Senate, his nomination for the vice presidency of the United States at the 1968 Democratic Convention, his protest of the Vietnam War, and his praise for President Lyndon Johnson’s actions towards civil rights. Bond leaves viewers with a look forward—“So many undone things in this country”—and his firm belief that someone will step forward to lead the way. The centerpiece of the film is Bond talking to an off-screen interviewer—it is powerful. American history, African American studies, and government classes can utilize this film to review history from a primary source. The film’s length makes it very classroom friendly.–Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, Mt. Carmel
The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1. By Jasper Fforde. 7 CDs. 7:31 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4558-5828-6. $49.97.
Gr 4-8–Once magic was powerful and very useful, but as the dragons have been dying off, it has been fading. Now its powers are only used for mundane purposes such as rewiring houses or delivering pizzas by magic carpet. With the prediction of the death of the last dragon by Kazam Mystical Arts Management’s seers, 15-year old foundling Jennifer Strange, the agency’s acting director, is suddenly sent headlong into events that will change her life and the lives of all in the UnUnited Kingdoms. Little does she know the role she is destined to play in the dragon’s death or in the coming of what is known as Big Magic. Suddenly Jennifer becomes known as the Last Dragonslayer, and is fighting off commercial endorsements and driving the armored Slayermobile while trying to avoid a war between her kingdom and the neighboring duchy. While this all seems very dark and ominous, Fforde keeps the puns and humor flowing, and populates the tale (Harcourt, 2012) with outrageous individuals and fantastic creatures. The plot is engaging, and Jennifer is a mature and well-developed character whose intelligence, strong morals, and ingenuity help her through some very difficult decisions. Elizabeth Jasicki channels the book’s wittiness impeccably, and presents each character with just the right voice and accent, from polite Jennifer to the gruff, wizened Maltcassian the Dragon. Listeners will be captivated by this first title in a trilogy and will eagerly await the further adventures of Jennifer, her pet quarkbeast, and her assistant, Tiger Prawns.–MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY
Maggot Moon. By Sally Gardner. 3 CDs. 3:40 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4692-7495-9. $54.97.
Gr 8 Up–In Gardener’s dystopian novel (Candlewick, 2013), 15-year old Standish Treadwell and his grandfather live in Zone Seven, the lowest-ranked district of the totalitarian government of the Motherland, and try to survive after Standish’s parents disappear. The Motherland is obsessed with an upcoming moon landing which will establish their superiority over other countries. Meanwhile, food is scarce and everyone is watched constantly. Standish and his grandfather befriend a mysterious family that moves next door. Hector, the 15 year-old son, becomes Standish’s protector when he’s bullied at school. The boys find fun in an old soccer ball, build a spaceship in the attic, and wonder what lays on the forbidden other side of the big wall behind their houses. When they find out, their lives are irrevocably changed. Standish finds refuge from his bleak surroundings in a glorious imagination and the courage to make a final stand against the oppressive regime in which he lives in the end. Sixteen-year old English actor Robert Madge does an outstanding job portraying Standish in the first-person narration. Standish’s voice is strong throughout, whether he is being taunted because he has trouble reading and writing (the author is dyslexic) or dreaming about his imaginary planet. Violent, dark, yet strangely hopeful, this audiobook will stay with listeners for a long time.–Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC
Shadow on the Mountain. By Margi Preus. 6 cassettes or 6 CDs. 6:30 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-2613-5, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-2614-2. $ 66.75.
Gr 6-9–Espen should be focusing on winning the soccer championships and talking to the beautiful Solveig, but instead the Nazi occupation of Norway fills his waking hours. The Nazis attacked Norway and quickly took over the country, but that can’t break the spirits of the Norwegian people. Espen and other teenage members of his soccer team join the resistance movement, where they risk their lives to try to pass secret messages to other spies or do spying of their own. His younger sister, Ingrid, also joins the resistance and writes about the horrors of Nazi occupation in her diary. Not all Norwegians fight the Germans. Espen’s best friend, Kjell, becomes a spy for the Germans and Aksel, who dislikes the other boys, becomes part of Norway’s version of the Gestapo. For five years, Espen performs jobs for the resistance, while his friends die, are arrested, and are forced to flee the country. Espen knows it could be just a matter of time before he’s caught, but he will fight to the end for his country. Told in the voices of Espen, Ingrid, and Aksel, Preus’s novel (Amulet, 2012) accurately captures the mood and history of the occupation. At the end of the novel, Preus reveals the true story behind Espen. Jeff Woodman portrays Aksel’s descent into brutality, Ingrid’s innocence and bravery, and Espen’s fear and strength, while giving perfect voice to all the secondary characters. An excellent story about a lesser-known part of World War II history.–Sarah Flood, Breckinridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg, KY
What Came from the Stars. By Gary Schmidt. 6 cassettes or 6 CDs. 6:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013.cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-3976-0, CD: ISBN 97801-4703-3977-7. $66.75
Gr 6-8–Tommy Pepper is in the school cafeteria trying to hide the embarrassing superhero lunch box his grandmother sent him for his 12th birthday when it suddenly clatters to the floor. When he retrieves it, it’s not the same lunchbox. The shape has changed, and the scene depicted is of another world. Inside he finds a shimmering green and silver chain which he slips around his neck beneath his shirt. Suddenly, Tommy knows things that other people don’t, his artistic abilities seem to bring his creations to life, he can play the piano like a virtuoso, and he can catch a long pass like a pro. But the only newfound ability that Tommy really cherishes is the one that allows him to relive his memories of his mother. Wracked with guilt over her death, the recalling of happy times together feels like a kind of absolution. When an unknown assailant begins to threaten the entire town, Tommy realizes that they are after the necklace. But he’s loath to give it up until his father and sister become part of the bargain. In alternating chapters, the story switches between Tommy’s world and the world of the Valorim (from a planet across the cosmos) who forged the chain. The tale of the Valorim is told in a formal style, rich with words from an invented language. Narrator Graham Winton does an excellent job of keeping Gary Schmidt’s sci-fi fantasy (Clarion, 2012) flowing despite these shifts in writing style and language. He is so adept at speaking the invented language that listeners will begin to decipher the meanings even without the benefit of the glossary (included at the back of the book). His performance brings to life this beautiful tale of healing and forgiveness in a way that goes way beyond just reading the text yourself. A must-have for middle school and public libraries.–Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA
Yellow Star. By Jennifer Roy. 3 CDs. 3:06 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4692-1526-6. $49.97.
Gr 5-9–During the Holocaust, Nazi officials established the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, a desolate home to more than 245,000 Jews. Only 877 survived, including just 12 children. This story-in-verse (Amazon Children’s Pub., 2008) offers listeners a glimpse of the experiences of Syvia Perlmutter, Roy’s aunt, in the Lodz Ghetto from 1939, when she was just four years old, through 1945. Through Syvia’s eyes, we learn of the loving family who tried to endure unbelievable deprivations, seeing conditions deteriorate and neighbors disappear daily. Roy recreated these vignettes from her aunt’s taped narrative. Tavia Gilbert’s narration brings Syvia, her family members, and friends to life. While some pronunciations are questionable (Chelm-EH-no, Ha-VAH), the overall effect is authentic. Though Holocaust study is usually reserved for older students, this personal account serves as a rare foray into the perceptions and impressions of a little girl amidst grave realities. Family love and support somehow overpower the heinous forces which would destroy all in the Ghetto, and Syvia manages to endure by cooperating with her courageous parents. Winner of several literary awards, this is a unique choice for understanding the dark years of Holocaust history, with a glimmer of hope emanating from one little girl who survived.–Robin Levin, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher/Fellow, Ft. Washakie, WY
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The following titles are reviewed in the May print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Drugs & Alcohol
High on Painkillers: An Overdose Epidemic. DVD. 20 min. with tchr’s. guide. Human Relations Media. 2013.ISBN 978-1-62706-005-9. $149.95.
Digital Smarts: Behaving Ethically Online. DVD. 17 min. with tchr’s. guide. Human Relations Media. 2013.ISBN 978-1-55548-580-1. $149.95.
Siblings of Autism: The Challenge and the Hope. DVD. 30 min. Listen2Kids. 2013. ISBN 978-0-9882270-3-3. $44.95.
Teens in Action Video Library (Series). 6 DVDs. range: 14-24 min. with tchr’s. guide and tip sheets on CD-ROM. Active Parenting. 2012. ISBN 978-1-59723-279-1. $279 ser. $69.95 ea. Includes: To Survive and Thrive (ISBN 978-1-59723-277-7); Cooperation and Communication (ISBN 978-1-59723-278-4); Responsibility and Discipline (ISBN 978-1-59723-279-1); Building Courage and Self-Esteem (ISBN 978-1-59723-280-7); Drugs, Sexuality & Violence: Reducing the Risks, Pts. 1 & 2 (ISBN 978-1-59723-281-4/282-1).
STEM Careers in Two Years (Series). 4 DVDS. range: 19-22 min. Prod. by Cambridge Educational. Dist. by Films Media Group. 2012. ISBN 978-1-62102-990-8. $399.80 ser., $99 ea. Includes: Computer and Information Technology (ISBN 978-1-62102-991-5); Advanced Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Technology (ISBN 978-1-62102-992-2); Applied Science and Technology (ISBN 978-1-62102-993-9); Health Care and Technology (ISBN 978-1-62102-9924-6).
When Presentation Counts: Grooming, Dressing and Body Language. DVD. 32:15 min. with tchr’s. guide. Linx Educational. 2013. ISBN unavail. $108.
Kids Get Movin’. DVD. 40 min. Prod. by Center for Movement Education & Research. Dist. by Organa Kids. 2012. ISBN unavail. $14.95.
Head Lice: An Itchy Problem. DVD. 12:21 min. with tchr’s. guide. MarshMedia. 2013. ISBN 978-1-55942-637-4. $79.95.
Making Healthy Choices: Fighting Teen Obesity. DVD. 20 min. with tchr’s. guide. Human Relations Media. 2013. ISBN 978-1-62706-008-0. $149.95.
What’s on MyPlate. DVD. 22 min. with tchr’s. guide online. Learning ZoneXpress. 2012. ISBN unavail. $79.95.
Curious George Swings into Spring. DVD. 57 min, Prod. by Universal Studios. Dist. by Amazon.com. 2013.ISBN unavail. $19.98.
I’m Fast. DVD. 8 min. with tchr’s. guide. Weston Woods. 2012. ISBN 978-0-545-47809-0. $59.95; CD, ISBN 978-0-545-47808-3; $12.95; CD with hardcover book, ISBN 978-0-545-47825-0: $29.95.
Kali the Little Vampire. DVD. 9 min. National Film of Canada. 2012. ISBN unavail. $129.
Missy Mila: Twisted Tales, Vol. 2. DVD. 101 min. Prod. by Planet Nemo. Dist. by Organa Kids. 2013. ISBN unavail. $19.95.
R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: The Series, Vol. 3. DVD. 2:12 hrs. Shout Factory! 2013. ISBN unavail. $14.97.
R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: The Series, Vol. 4. DVD. 2:12 hrs. Shout Factory! 2013. ISBN unavail. $14.97.
Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend. DVD. 12 min. with tchr’s. guide. Weston Woods. 2012. ISBN 978-0-545-47813-7. $59.95; CD, ISBN 978-0-545-47812-0: $12.95; CD with hardcover book, ISBN 978-0-545-47932-5: $29.95; CD with paperback book, ISBN 978-0-545-47935-6: $18.95.
Dinosaur Train: Submarine Adventures. DVD. 50 min. Prod. by Jim Henson Co. Dist. by PBS Dist. 2013. ISBN 978-1-60883-786-1. $9.99.
Doomsday Volcanoes (NOVA Series). DVD. 60 min. Prod. by Darlow Smithson Prods. and WGBH Educational Foundation. Dist. byPBS Dist. 2013. ISBN 978-1-60883-840-0. $24.99.
Forces of Nature: Stories from the Brower Youth Awards, Vol. 2. DVD. 51 min. Prod. by Brower Youth Awards. Dist. by Video Project. 2012. ISBN unavail. $49.
People of a Feather. DVD. 52 min. Prod. by Sanililuaq Running Pictures. Dist. by Video Project. 2012. ISBN unavail. $89.
Sun Come Up. DVD. 39 min. Prod. by Big Red Barn Films. Dist. by New Day Films. 2010, 2012 release. ISBN 978-0-615-50955-6. $129.
Ultimate Mars Challenge (NOVA Series). DVD. 60 min. Prod. by WGBH Educational Foundation. Dist. by PBS Dist. 2012. ISBN 978-1-60883-777-9. $24.99.
Digital Smarts: Protecting Your Online Reputation and Safety. DVD. 19 min. with tchr’s. guide. Human Relations Media. 2013. ISBN 978-1-62706-000-4. $149.95.
Facebook Follies. DVD. 55 min./42 min. Prod by TellTale Prods. Dist. by Video Project. ISBN unavail. $89.
The Basketball Game. DVD. 5 min. with tchr’s. guide online. National Film Board of Canada. 2012. ISBN unavail. $129.
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. DVD. 54 min. Prod. by Vaquera Films. Dist. by New Day Films. 2013. ISBN 978-1-57488-110-5. $95.
Many of these titles are available for download and/or in Playaway format. Check distributors’ websites, playaway.com, and audio download retailers for availability and price.
Count on Culebra: Go from 1 to 10 in Spanish. By Ann Whitford Paul. CD. 12:14 min. with paperback book.Live Oak Media. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4301-1123-8. $18.95; with hardcover book, ISBN 978-1-4301-1124-5: $29.95.
Alida’s Song. By Gary Paulsen. 2 CDs. 1:25 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4558-0903-5. $39.97.
Beholding Bee. By Kimberley Newton Fusco. 7 CDs. 8:10 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-385-36129-3. $45.
Black Ice: Sherlock Holmes the Legend Begins, Book 3. By Andrew Lane. 6 CDs. 7:30 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4272-2961-8. $29.99.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel. By Jeff Kinney. 2 cassettes or 2 CDs. 2 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-3835-0, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-3834-3. $25.75.
Gingersnap. By Patricia Reilly Giff. 3 CDs. 3:21 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-385-36133-0. $28.
Goblin Secrets. By William Alexander. 4 cassettes or 4 CDs. 5 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-4200-5, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-4254-8/ $51.75.
Hideout: Swindle Series. By Gordon Korman. 6 CDs. 5:30 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4703-3985-2. $51.75.
Ivy Takes Care. By Rosemary Wells. 3 CDs. 2:56 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4692-7494-2. $54.97.
The Madness Underneath: Shades of London, Book 2. By Maureen Johnson. 7 CDs. 7:52 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4418-6643-1. $54.97.
Perry’s Killer Playlist. By Joe Schreiber. 5 cassettes or 5 CDs. 5:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-2-4640-4617-9, CD: ISBN 978-1-4640-4618-6. $46.75.
Pinned. By Sharon G. Flake. 4 CDs. 4:57 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 978-0-385-36113-2. $38.
Princess Academy: Palace of Stone. By Shannon Hale. 6 CDs. 7:53 hrs. AudioGo. 2012. ISBN 978-0-7927-9369-4. $59.50.
Road Trip. By Gary and Jim Paulsen. 3 CDs. 3:49 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-385-36145-3. $27.
The Runaway Bunny/The Story of Barbar/Goodnight Moon. By various authors. CD. 1:18 hrs. Prod. by GPR Records. Dist. by Naxos. 2012. ISBN unavail. $16.99.
Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 2. By Marissa Meyer. 9 CDs. 11 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4272-2964-9. $39.99.
Scrivener’s Moon: Fever Crumb, Book 3. By Philip Reeve. 9 CDs. 10:57 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2012.ISBN 978-0-545-46596-0. $34.99.
Second Chance: The Slayer Chronicles, Book 2. By Heather Brewer. 5 CDs. 5:57 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012.ISBN 978-1-4558-3642-0. $54.97.
Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader. Edited by Cassandra Clare. 5 CDs. 5:57 hrs.Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4692-7394-5. $39.97.
Sizzle. By Lee McClain. 5 CDs. 5:10 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4692-1519-8. $49.97.
Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. By William Joyce. 3 cassettes or 3 CDs. 3:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2012. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-2987-7, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-2978-5. $30.75.
The Tragedy Paper. By Elizabeth Laban. 7 CDs. 8:06 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8041-2201-6. $45.
Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters. By Donna Jo Napoli. 3 cassettes or 3 CDs. 2:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4640-4152-5, CD: ISBN 978-1-4640-4151-8. $30.75.
Anthems for Adventure. Performed by Tim and the Space Cadets. CD. 41 min. CD Universe. 2013. ISBN unavail. $11.67.
Baby Boogie: Music and Rhymes for Infants and Toddlers. CD. 25 min. Prod. by Champaign Public Library. Dist. by AV Café. 2012. ISBN unavail. $11.99.
It’s a Good Day. Performed by The Non-Toxic Band. CD. 34 min. The Non-Toxic Band. 2012. ISBN unavail. $15.
Season Sings! By Miss Carole. Performed by Carole Stephens. CD. 60:25 min. Prod. by Macaroni Soup. Dist. by AV Café. 2012. ISBN unavail. $15.
Sensational Songs About Science Fiction? Performed by Mr. Billy. CD. approx. 40 min. Prod. by Flying Bounce House Records/Mr. Billy. Dist. by AV Café. 2012. ISBN unavail. $15.
Sing for Dr. King! Vitamin L Songs for a Beloved Community. Performed by Vitamin L. CD. approx. 54 min. Prod. by Lovable Creature Music. Dist. by Vitamin L. 2012, 2013 release. ISBN unavail. $14.95.
Songs for Junior Rangers. CD. approx. 60 min. with lyrics, poster map, activity. Prod. by National Park Service. Dist. by CDBaby.com. 2012. ISBN unavail. $9.95.
Super Superhero Songs. Performed by Mr. Billy. CD. approx. 41 min. Prod. by Flying Bounce House Records. Dist. by AV Café. 2012. ISBN unavail. $15.
Moonbird: A Year in the Wind with Great Survivor B95. By Phillip Hoose. 3 CDs. 3:12 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4692-8209-1. $39.97.