January 20, 2017

Subscribe to SLJ

SLJ Multimedia Reviews

For all the latest SLJ reviews and more, subscribe to SLJ today and save 35%!

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz | SLJ Audio Review

AU-Gidwitz-InquisitorsTale

GIDWITZ, Adam. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. 8 CDs. 10:14 hrs. Listening Library. Sept. 2016. $40. ISBN 9780735287389. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –The year is 1242; the setting: a roadside inn on the outskirts of a small French town. Travelers from all corners of France share what they know about the country’s most notorious outlaws: a group of three children and their dog. Jeanne is a peasant girl able to see the […]

Ghost by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Audio Review

au-reynolds-ghost

REYNOLDS, Jason. Ghost. digital download. 3:29 hrs. S. & S. Audio. Aug. 2016. $14.99. ISBN 9781508230472.

Gr 5-9 –Guy Lockard has assumed the mantle of narrator-of-choice for Reynolds’s fiction: Ghost (2016 National Book Award finalist) is Lockard’s third Reynolds title, following As Brave as You and Rashad’s chapters in All American Boys. Here, as seventh grader Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw, Lockard performs with excitable bravado, ruminating honesty, and trash-talking speed. Ghost runs fast with good reason, having escaped his father, […]

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes | SLJ DVD Review

the-princess-and-the-warrior

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes. 18 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2016. $38.99. ISBN 9781520049472.

K-Gr 4 –Award-winning author/illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh has taken a treasured Mexican folktale and rewritten it with spare, Aztec-inspired artwork in this story of Princess Itza, whose heart was won not by a prince but by a humble warrior. His only chance to marry the princess lies in victory against the enemy. That triumph, however, is useless, for upon his return, […]

The Best Man by Richard Peck | SLJ Audio Review

au-peck-bestman

PECK, Richard. The Best Man. 4 CDs. 4:25 hrs. Listening Library. Sept. 2016. $30. ISBN 9780735288881. digital download.

Gr 4-6 –The latest from Newbery Medal–winning author Peck takes on important and timely topics—marriage, sexuality, manhood, nontraditional families—and alchemizes them into an affecting story full of warmth, acceptance, and understanding. Sixth grader Archer Magill narrates what he calls “A Tale of Two Weddings.” At the first, “a train wreck” of an event, Archer, age six, was the ring bearer and […]

Talking Leaves by Joseph Bruchac | SLJ Audio Review

au-bruchac-talkingleaves

BRUCHAC, Joseph. Talking Leaves. 4 CDs. 4:35 hrs. Listening Library. Aug. 2016. $35. ISBN 9780451485717. digital download.

Gr 4-7 –Many of the people in 13-year-old Uwohali’s Cherokee village are whispering about his father, Sequoyah. Sequoyah has just returned from a six-year stay in Arkansas, and he spends all his time writing strange symbols on paper and scratching marks in the dirt. People whisper that Sequoyah must be crazy, and they fear his strange marks are a form of witchcraft. […]

Supertruck | SLJ DVD Review

dvd-supertruck

Supertruck. 5 min. Dist. by Weston Woods. 2016. $59.95. ISBN 9781338090338. POP

PreS-Gr 1 –Stephen Savage’s Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor title receives prime treatment in this presentation. All the trucks in the city do their jobs and, in their own ways, save the day. Some are flashier than others, though. The garbage truck, for example, performs a necessary job with little fanfare. However, when a snowstorm hits and snow piles high, other trucks are stuck until the garbage truck […]

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio | SLJ Audio Review

au-graceforpresident

DIPUCCHIO, Kelly. Grace for President. 1 CD w tr book. 25 min. Weston Woods. Oct. 2016. $29.95. ISBN 9781338090239.

PreS-Gr 3 –The 2016 presidential race—featuring the first woman nominated by a major U.S. political party—gives Kelly DiPucchio’s picture book, originally published in 2008, even greater relevance. Grace is an elementary school student who is appalled to learn that there has never been a female American president. Her interest in becoming the first leads to a school election with Grace […]

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | SLJ Audio Review

au-stevenson-nimona

STEVENSON, Noelle. Nimona. 2:17 hrs. HarperAudio. Oct. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9780062562807. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –Imagine a future where technology meets medieval studies mashed with a bit of supernatural and government conspiracy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is determined to expose the despicable activities of the Institute of Law Enforcement, which is led by his former best friend, Sir Ambrose Goldenloin. Such a large undertaking requires not just any sidekick. Enter Nimona, a quick-witted, hilarious teen shape-shifter who has a […]

A Tween and His Tree | “A Monster Calls” Movie Review

eh161220_monstercalls

Director J.A. Bayona unleashes the destructive, tough-talking, and tale-spinning colossal, based on author Patrick Ness’s 2011 novel.

“Sign with Robert” Series | SLJ DVD Review

sign-with-robert

Sign with Robert: Academic Signs. ISBN 888295392556.

Sign with Robert: Babies and Children. ISBN 888295392501.

Sign with Robert: Business, Numbers and Time. ISBN 888295392570.

Sign with Robert: Deaf Culture. ISBN 888295392518.

Sign with Robert: Family, School, Entertainment and Sports. ISBN 888295392341.

Sign with Robert: Grab Bag—Idioms, Songs and Stories. ISBN 888295392341.

Sign with Robert: Home and Travel. ISBN 888295392532.

Sign with Robert: Receptive Skills and Fun with Sign. ISBN 888295392587.

Sign with Robert: Sign Language Practice. ISBN 888295392525.

Sign […]

Top 10 DVDs | 2016

1612-dvd-top10-tn

Kent Turner, SLJ’s DVD editor, hand-picked these top-shelf productions that offer educational—as well as entertainment—value.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Sabotage: The Mission To Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb | SLJ Audio Review

sabotage

BASCOMB, Neal. Sabotage: The Mission To Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb. 5 CDs. 6:13 hrs. Recorded Books. Apr. 2016. $34.99. ISBN 9780545944021. digital download.

Gr 8 Up –This richly detailed nonfiction account of Norwegians who spied for the British and organized resistance against the Nazis unfolds like a spy thriller. Bascomb includes a good deal of science regarding the heavy water and uranium needed to create the atom bomb. Though the narrative is a bit difficult to follow in the […]

Yellow by Megan Jacobson | SLJ Audio Review

yellow

JACOBSON, Megan. Yellow. 1 MP3-CD. 7:06 hrs. Brilliance. Jul. 2016. $9.99. ISBN 9781522642121.

Gr 9 Up –Fourteen-year-old Kirra Barley’s life is spiraling out of control. She’s bullied by girls at school who claim to be her friends, her father has left home to live with another woman, and her mother’s drinking is worse than it has ever been. Unhappy and alone, Kirra answers a ringing pay phone at the beach in her coastal Australian town, and the ghost of […]

TOP 10 Audiobooks | 2016

1612-audio-top10-tn

These 10 titles represent excellent storytelling with exceptional narration and production values.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah | SLJ Audio Review

Untitled-21

SHEVAH, Emma. Dara Palmer’s Major Drama. 5 CDs. 6 hrs. Recorded Books. Jul. 2016. $51.75. ISBN 9781501921575. digital download.

Gr 3-6 –Dara knows she was meant to be a star. She watches TV all the time to study for roles, practices facial expressions in the mirror, and daydreams constantly about her future in Hollywood. When her middle school prepares to put on The Sound of Music, Dara knows she’ll be Maria. Instead, she is in the chorus. As an […]

Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman | SLJ Audio Review

Untitled-21

CUSHMAN, Karen. Grayling’s Song. 4 CDs. 5 hrs. Recorded Books. Jul. 2016. $46.75. ISBN 9781501916922. digital download.

Gr 3-6– Cushman delivers an intriguing cast of characters in a fantastical tale set in a medieval world. A dark cloud is turning Grayling’s demanding hedgewitch mother and other “wise folk” into trees. Though Grayling is shy and unsure, after she assembles her mother’s potions and learns her songs, the teen sets out to find her mother’s stolen grimoire (book of magic). […]

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer | SLJ DVD Review

voice-of-freedom

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer. 34 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2016. $38.99. ISBN 9781520016788.

Gr 4-8 –This iconographic video expands on Carole Boston Weatherford’s exemplary picture book biography of Fannie Lou Hamer by adding narration and simple animation. Janina Edwards’s spirited narration conveys the beauty of Weatherford’s poetic text and convincingly voices Hamer’s perspective. Born in poverty, Hamer became a powerful voice of the civil rights movement. Forced to leave school after the sixth grade, she was in […]

The First Silent Night | SLJ DVD Review

first-silent-night

The First Silent Night. 53 min. Dist. by PBS. 2015. $24.99. ISBN 9781627894173.

Gr 5 Up –This sweeping backstory of the world’s best-known Christmas carol is a mystery, with surprises aplenty as the 200-year-old song’s humble history is revealed. With gorgeous cinematography and rich narration by British actor Simon Callow, the tale is told with splendor yet simplicity. The illegitimate, impoverished Josef Mohr was born in 1792 in Salzburg, Austria, during a time of deep divisions between the haves […]

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan | SLJ Audio Review

shovan-lastfifthgrade

SHOVAN, Laura. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. 3 CDs. 3:15 hrs. Recorded Books. Jul. 2016. $51.75. ISBN 9781501925344. digital download.

Gr 3-6 –When the land where their school is located is sold to build a supermarket, 18 fifth graders use poetry to tell the story of their loss. Each student has a unique voice reflecting personality, culture, and individual challenges. Some fight the change. Others embrace new possibilities. Soon they will be scattered to other schools. It […]

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music | SLJ DVD Review

drum-dream-girl

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music. 10 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2016. $38.99. ISBN 9781520013213.

PreS-Gr 2 –What do you do when your talents and dreams remain unfulfilled? That was the problem facing Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. A girl of Chinese African descent living in Cuba, Millo was surrounded by a rich culture and a world filled with rhythms begging to be shared. In a tradition where boys were the only ones allowed to play the drums, […]