October 5, 2015

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The Iliad by Homer | SLJ Review


HOMER. The Iliad. retold by Gillian Cross. illus. by Neil Packer. 160p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780763678326.
Gr 6-9–Cross presents a fluid and highly readable version of this celebrated tale. The text follows the essential plot structure of the classic work, beginning with Helen’s capture and concluding with Hector’s demise. The book includes an introduction to the Odyssey (retold by this creative team in 2012) and provides brief historical context of the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean. A helpful spread groups […]

Teens Review Latest from Joelle Charbonneau, Stephan Pastis, and More

timmy failure sanitized

The young adults at the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library share their thoughts on Joelle Charbonneau’s latest dystopian, Gareth Jones’s time travel adventure, and Stephan Pastis’s newest “Timmy Failure” book.

App Review & Blended Pic Tutorial: Fused (with an assist from the Silhouette app)

Monday my co-blogger Heather Booth sent me a text that said,” you might really like this app called Fused.” She had no idea what she was starting as I quickly became obsessed, for the MakerSpace and my teens of course! Using the app I was able to create these images: Now I have been seeing […]

Review: ‘The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea’

Was it in honor of Scholastic’s 10th anniversary or was it because Raina Telgemeier titles are in such high demand? Is that why Scholastic reissued the Babysitter’s Club in color? Back in May, I spoke to a Scholastic rep at Book Expo and she said that both were considerations. Mostly, she explained, it had to […]

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015

Each year Jane Hart does some serious crowd-sourcing.  Earlier this week, she released her 9th annual Top 100 Tools for Learning.  Each year Jane’s list becomes a little checklist for me, actually a kind of shopping list.  I enjoy watching the trends and seeing what’s hot. To create the list, Jane surveyed more than 2,000 […]

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III | SLJ Review


MARSHALL, Joseph, III. In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse. 176p. Abrams/Amulet. Nov. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781419707858.
Gr 4-8–In this novel that seamlessly integrates Lakota history and oral tradition, Marshall takes readers along for a road trip with Jimmy and his maternal grandfather as they embark on a “vision journey,” visiting famous landmarks, monuments, and landscapes integral to the life of the great warrior and leader Crazy Horse. Jimmy, a young Lakota boy, struggles with fitting in on his reservation because […]

Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” on the iPad | Touch and Go


Our reviewer Pam Schembri cites the performers’ commentary as one of the strengths of this production, and calls it “a treasure for both professionals, students of music, and dabblers.”

Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl | SLJ Review


WAHL, Phoebe. Sonya’s Chickens. illus. by Phoebe Wahl. 32p. Tundra. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781770497894.
K-Gr 2–Sonya’s dad gives her three tiny chickens to raise on their farm, telling her that she is responsible for keeping them happy and making sure they have full bellies and a warm place to sleep. She does her job well, and soon the chickens become full-grown hens. When one of them is killed by a fox looking for food to feed his family, her father […]

Review: The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

The Tea Party in the Woods By Akiko Miyakoshi Kids Can Press ISBN: 9781771381079 $16.95 Grades PreK-1 Out Now *Best New Book* Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library Everything is not as it seems. That premise has been the starting point for some of the most enduring stories in children’s literature. Alice’s Adventures […]

Book Review: The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy (reviewed by Teen Reviewer Lexi)

“If you hunt for monsters you’ll find them” Summary: Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again. Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case […]

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier | SLJ Review


BRALLIER, Max. The Last Kids on Earth. illus. by Douglas Holgate. 240p. ebook available. Viking. Oct. 2015. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780670016617.
Gr 3-6–An apocalyptic monster attack has destroyed the town of Wakefield, leaving gigantic, slime-filled creatures in its wake. It appears that the entire population has been turned into zombies, except for 13-year-old Jack Sullivan. Jack is an abandoned foster kid trying to survive the catastrophe while living in a tricked-out tree house. In his daily fight for survival, which includes […]

A Song for Ella Grey | SLJ Review

Song for ella grey_

ALMOND, David. A Song for Ella Grey. 272p. ebook available. Delacorte. Oct. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780553533590; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780553533606. LC 2014040181.
Gr 9 Up–An innovative and dreamlike retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in modern-day Tyneside and Northumberland and told in Almond’s lyrical, distinctive prose. Narrator Claire has a passionate relationship with Ella, whom she has known since they were five years old. They are part of a “beautiful friendship group” of like-minded teenagers who […]

Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program takes the road!

The Google Expeditions Pioneer Program launched today. In an email update this morning, the team shared: Expeditions is hitting the road! Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, starting with The United States, Australia, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, and Brazil. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers […]

App Review: Aviary (The quest for the perfect photo app continues)

Last week we got the final approval to make some big changes at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) where I am working as the YA Services Coordinator. Namely, my proposal to move the YA fiction collection out of an enclosed space to a new location and to turn that enclosed […]

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder | SLJ Review

Screen from Kindo

SNYDER, Laurel. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova. illus. by Julie Morstad. 52p. Chronicle. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452118901.
Gr 1-4–This tall, graceful picture book captures the artistic spirit, if not the entire biography, of one of the world’s prima ballerinas. Pavlova’s humble beginnings and early life in 19th-century tsarist Russia are merely hinted at, though spelled out more fully in an appended author’s note. The spare, lyrical text instead offers imagery that is more poetic than concrete. For […]

Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation by Peggy Thomas | SLJ Review


THOMAS, Peggy. Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation. illus. by Stacy Innerst. 48p. bibliog. chart. notes. websites. Calkins Creek. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781620916285. LC 2014958527.
Gr 3-6–In this illustrated biography, Thomas continues her portraits of Americans who contributed to the development of the United States. As the author establishes, Thomas Jefferson had many interests, including his passion for plants and animals, which was evident in his roles as farmer, diplomat, and president. In his work Notes on the State of […]

The Fun Book of Scary Stuff by Emily Jenkins | SLJ Review


JENKINS, Emily. The Fun Book of Scary Stuff. illus. by Hyewon Yum. 32p. Farrar/Frances Foster Bks. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374300005.
K-Gr 2–A mop top child makes a list of everything that frightens him and shares it with his two dogs. The usual nebulous suspects such as monsters, ghosts, and witches are included, along with more specific terrors such as a nasty cousin who has a penchant for putting ice cubes down the boy’s pants, and a bossy crossing guard. The […]

Either the Beginning or the End of the World by Terry Farish | SLJ Review


FARISH, Terry. Either the Beginning or the End of the World. 200p. ebook available. Carolrhoda Lab. Oct. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781467774833.
Gr 9 Up–Almost 17-year-old Sofie lives with her fisherman father and dog on the rugged and unforgiving Pisqataqua River in New Hampshire. For as long as she can remember, it’s been just the two of them, making ends meet the best they can. An early closure of the shrimping season forces her father down south to the Chincoteague, but […]

Review of the Day: Robo-Sauce by Adam Rubin

Robo-Sauce By Adam Rubin Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri Dial (an imprint of Penguin Books) $18.99 ISBN: 978-0525428879 Ages 4-6 On shelves October 20th. When I whip out the old we’re-living-in-a-golden-age-of-picture-book-creation argument with colleagues and friends, they humor what I’m sure they consider to be my hyperbole. Suuuuuure we are, Betsy. Not prone to exaggeration or […]

Moobot’s Back with “Billy’s Booger” in Digital | Touch and Go

billy's b

Billy’s Booger: As described on the Moonbot site, this “highly anticipated,” “completely (sorta) true story from William Joyce’s experience in the fourth grade” has been “40 years in the ‘picking.’” And it’s now available in digital.