July 31, 2015

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The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce | SLJ Review


Boyce, Frank Cottrell. The Astounding Broccoli Boy. 384p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062400178; lib. ed. $17.89. ISBN 9780062414977.

Gr 4-6–When Rory Rooney, the smallest boy in his year and sadly the target of bullies including Grim Komissky, suddenly turns green on a class trip, he is blamed and ridiculed before a helicopter whisks him to a London hospital. Fearful he could be contagious, doctors aren’t taking any chances while the “Killer Kittens” virus is ravaging England.  Rory is […]

Review: Sunny Side Up

The brother-and-sister team of Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm join forces again, though this time their book is a slight departure from the usual work: No cute squishy figures, no spunky mice. This new story is rooted in reality and takes us back in time, though realistically it could have taken place today. Sunny […]

App Review: Candy Camera

Knowing my obsession with pictures – my last smart phone had over 14,000 of them saved by the time it bit the dust – The Tween and The Bestie came to me a couple of days ago and shared that their new favorite photo app is Candy Cam. They declared it better than Instagram – […]

“Denton” is a wry romp for teens |Audio Pick


RUBIN, Lance. Denton Little’s Deathdate. 7 CDs. 8:36 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $45. ISBN 9780553556018. digital download.
Gr 10 Up–In Denton Little’s world, most people know their deathdates, which for Denton will be in his 17th year, the day of prom. Denton tries to live a normal life, even knowing that it will not be a long one. For his final days he decides to truly experience life. He accidentally cheats on his girlfriend while drunk, gets threatened at gunpoint by […]

The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn | SLJ Review


HAHN, Rebecca. The Shadow Behind the Stars. 256p. S. & S. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481435710.

Gr 7 Up–Chloe is the youngest of the three sisters who spin the world. Her fingers choose the wool, spin the thread, and begin each life. Motherly Serena guides the thread and marks the end. Xinot, the oldest, slices each thread with a snap of her shears. When a girl appears at their door asking to understand her disastrous fate, the sisters have nothing […]

Review: ‘Steve Jobs: Insanely Great’

Steve Jobs: Insanely Great By Jessie Hartland Schwartz & Wade; $23 The sub-title to cartoonist Jessie Hartland’s comics-format biography of Steve Jobs refers not to his mental health but to his commonly employed catch phrase. “Insanely great!” is how he expressed his approval of something, particularly his various creations that had finally met his own […]

The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk by Sy Montgomery | SLJ Review


Montgomery, Sy. The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk. photos by Keith Ellenbogen. 80p. (Scientists in the Field). bibliog. ebook available. index. HMH. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544232709.

Gr 6-9–Searching for octopuses along the coast of Moorea in French Polynesia might sound like a dream assignment. However, these elusive mollusks are master of deceptive camouflage: boneless wonders that can ooze into impossibly small spaces and that tend to change their locations abruptly, leaving merely a tidy stack of emptied […]

Review: McToad Mows Tiny Island by Tom Angleberger

McToad Mows Tiny Island By Tom Angleberger Illustrated by John Hendrix ABRAMS ISBN: 9781419716508 $16.95 Grades K-2 Out September 1, 2015 *Best New Book* Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library McToad likes Thursdays. Every other day of the week he mows the grass on Big Island. But Thursday is the day he mows […]

Beastly Bones by William Ritter | SLJ Review


Ritter, William. Beastly Bones. 304p. (A Jackaby Novel). ebook available. Algonquin. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781616203542.

Gr 7 Up–R.F. Jackaby and his trusty assistant, Abigail Rook, investigate fascinating and mysterious forms of paranormal phenomena in the latest series offering.these and more paranormal phenomenon in the latest series offering. In this sequel to Jackaby (Algonquin, 2014), Ritter seamlessly presents enough backstory for newcomers to thoroughly enjoy this hybrid of historical fiction and fantasy. Jackaby and Rook are called to probe into […]

Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago | SLJ Review

White Rabbits

Buitrago, Jairo. Two White Rabbits. tr. from Spanish by Elisa Amado. illus. by Rafael Yockteng. 32p. ebook available. Groundwood. Oct. 2015. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781554987412.

K-Gr 3–A young girl and her father face challenges together as they move from place to place. They travel by foot and by train and are happy to catch a ride with passersby when they can. Sometimes their journey is delayed (or derailed) when they must stop because of soldiers or if father has to earn […]

Book Review: Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

Publisher’s description: Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls … opposite Vanessa Park, the one […]

Review: ‘Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Railroad’

When I was in fourth grade (and again in 5th grade), we had to read a biography and then dress up as the person we read about it to present it to the class. I remember this project well, because I dressed up as Eleanor Roosevelt for two years straight. (I also did my science […]

More “Endless” Fun | Touch and Go


Originator has won high praise for its “Endless” apps—a playful, educational series that focuses on basic reading and math readiness skills. Their latest release is an introduction to Spanish for children learning it as a first or second language.

Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine & Jessica Dee Humphreys | SLJ Review

child soldier

Chikwanine, Michel & Jessica Dee Humphreys. Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War. illus. by Claudia Dávila. 48p. (CitizenKid). websites. Kids Can. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771381260.

Gr 3-6–Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and forced to become a child soldier at age five, Chikwanine tells his painful yet ultimately uplifting story with help from coauthor Humphreys and artist Dávila. Though there was unrest in his country, Michel lived a happy, carefree existence with his parents […]

Review: ‘Awkward,’ by Svetlana Chmakova

Awkward Written and illustrated by Svetlana Chmakova Hachette Books/Yen Press, 2015 All Ages, $11.00/$12.00 Awkward middle-schooler Penelope “Peppi” Torres has moved to Berrybrook Middle School, and already her first day has been a disaster when she is noticed by the mean kids. After tripping accidentally in the hallway, she’s assisted by Jaime, a shy introverted […]

A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder | SLJ Review


Crowder, Melanie. A Nearer Moon. 160p. S. & S./Atheneum. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481441483. LC 2014043590.

Gr 5-8–Luna lives in a swamp. It didn’t used to be a swamp. Back in Granny Tu’s time, it was a lovely flowing river, filled with sprites and fairies and magic where all of the people of the village were happy. Now the fairies are gone and the magic has turned dark and there is a sickness in the water. Or so they say. […]

W Is for Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary by Tracy Fern | SLJ Review

W is for Webster

Fern, Tracey. W Is for Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary. illus. by Boris Kulikov. 40p. further reading. Farrar/Margaret Ferguson Bks. Nov. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374382407.

Gr 3-5–Not every hero is well liked, and as this short picture book biography tells us, that was certainly the case with Noah Webster. He was called an odd fellow, a big talker, and even a lunatic. Yet Webster was steadfast in his belief that Americans needed books written in their own national […]

Untwine by Edwidge Danticat | SLJ Review

Danticat Untwine

Danticat, Edwidge. Untwine. 320p. Scholastic. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545423038.

Gr 7 Up–Identical twins Isabelle and Giselle were born with their fingers entwined and the doctors had to separate them, digit by digit. Now at 16, their parents are separated and considering divorce and the twins are developing their own interests and friends. As the unhappy family is running late to Isabelle’s school orchestra concert, the two are once again holding hands when the red minivan hits their SUV. For […]

Teens Review a Western, Sci-Fi, and a “Maze Runner” Read-Alike

vengeance road

The members of the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library YA Book Group are knee-deep in summer reading. They cover the gamut of genres in this column—from sci-fi to romance.

George by Alex Gino | SLJ Review

Gino- George

Gino, Alex. George. 240p. Scholastic. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545812542; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545812580.

Gr 4-6–Before her mother and older brother Scott come home, George has a few, treasured moments to experience life as she’s always wanted to live it. She looks in the mirror and calls herself Melissa, combs her hair over her forehead to mimic the appearance of bangs, and reads glossy magazines full of ads for lipstick, perfume, and tampons. Once her mom and brother come home, […]