July 20, 2017

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Night & Day by JoJo & the Pinecones | SLJ Music Review

Night & Day. Performed by JoJo & the Pinecones. CD. 50 min. Produced by Benjamin Gallina & Joelle Lurie. 2017. $8.99

PreS Up –JoJo & the Pinecones are lead singer Joelle Lurie, her musical partner and coproducer Benjamin Gallina, and a band of talented jazz musicians. Part 1: Day features high-energy songs that follow the arc of a day from waking up to having breakfast for dinner, while Part 2: Night is a farewell to the day as listeners get ready for […]

Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast | SLJ Music Review

Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast. Performed by Andrew Barkan & Polly Hall. 38 min. Palindrome Records. 2016. $12.

PreS-Gr 5 –Like nothing you may have ever heard before, this collection of 16 original songs pulled from Los Angeles–based Andrew & Polly’s podcast for preschoolers is a great mashup of musical styles: a fresh find, filled with fantasy and fun—sophisticated yet relevant. Barkan and Hall’s fourth album injects humor and passion into each song, making it just right and “real” for youngsters […]

Poulo Warali | SLJ Music Review

Poulo Warali. Performed by Poulo Warali. CD. Approx. 34 min. Awesome Tapes from Africa. 2017. $13.

PreS-Gr 8 –This is singer Awa Poulo’s first internationally distributed record. On this, her most recent recording, the popular singer of Peulh origin from Dilly Commune, Mali, shows off her beautiful, lilting voice as she sings traditional Malian music and original songs written by either Poulo or her mentor, the celebrated Malian singer Inna Baba Coulibaly. All songs are performed in Poulo’s native language. The opening […]

Friendshape | SLJ DVD Review

Friendshape. 7 min. Weston Woods. 2017. $59.95. ISBN 9781338184501. POP

PreS-Gr 1 –Never have circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles had such personality! Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld’s picture book has become a fully animated, joyfully scored video. Rosenthal narrates, but children voice the shapes, who bounce and wiggle adorably when they laugh. Their outlines give and bend, suggesting a wide range of movement, and their simple facial features move expressively. They wrinkle when they have a disagreement and straighten […]

Right Footed | SLJ DVD Review

Right Footed. 82 min. Nick Spark Productions. Rightfootedmovie.com. 2015. $200. ISBN 827377000583.

Gr 5 Up –Jessica Cox was born without arms, and this documentary traces her journey, beginning as an angry, frustrated child. As time went on, she embraced her differences, eventually becoming a renowned motivational speaker as an adult as well as a disabilities activist traveling the globe. The program highlights Cox’s amazing ability to use her feet in place of her hands to do everything from opening […]

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix | SLJ Audio Review

NIX, Garth. Frogkisser! 9 CDs. 11:07 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $27.50. ISBN 9781524702021. digital download.

Gr 5 Up –“Frogkisser” isn’t a nickname most 13-year-old princesses aspire to, but when Anya makes a sister-promise to return Prince Denholm to his human state, she goes in search of Transmogrifying Reversal Lip Balm. Nix knows how to stage an enchanting story, as Anya finds herself up against (and equal to!) one adventure after another. Accompanied by palace pup Ardent, prospective good […]

Good Morning Yoga & Good Night Yoga | SLJ DVD Review

Good Morning Yoga. 20 min. ISBN 9781520069524.

Good Night Yoga. 17 min. ISBN 9781520069494.

ea DVD: Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99.

K-Gr 2 –These animated programs are tailored to short attention spans and don’t demand rigorous adherence to specific form. Good Morning begins with perky piano music and a brief introduction before depicting a series of brightly drawn multicultural children breathing in, breathing out, and demonstrating clearly described and unembellished yoga poses. Boldly colored and simply illustrated birds, butterflies, crabs, and […]

Wolfie the Bunny | SLJ DVD Review

Wolfie the Bunny. 8 min. Weston Woods. 2017. $59.95. ISBN 9781338161953.

PreS-Gr 2 –It’s bad enough when a new baby usurps your parents’ time and affection, but it’s worse when you’re a bunny and that baby left on the doorstep is a wolf. Dot is convinced the adopted child is going to eat the family up, but her parents are smitten. Just how long can her new baby brother survive on carrots alone? What to do, what to do? […]

Heidi | SLJ DVD Review

Heidi. 111 min. Omnibus Entertainment. 2017. $14.99. UPC 859686006109.

Gr 4 Up –Filmed on location, this adaptation of Johanna Spyri’s 1881 novel about a Swiss girl who finds a home with her grandfather in the Alps is nearly perfect. Director Alain Gsponer’s evident affection for the story informs the retelling. Each building, room, costume, and prop paints a convincing portrait of 19th-century Germany and Switzerland, from the elaborate table settings to the rustic but solid simplicity of the grandfather’s […]

Romance with a Twist: The New “Everything, Everything” Movie

Nicola Yoon’s acclaimed YA novel Everything, Everything comes to the big screen, starring Amandla Stenberg.

Are We There Yet? | “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” Movie Review

The film series of Jeff Kinney’s wildly popular books returns to the screen after a five-year hiatus.

Duck on a Tractor/Un pato en tractor | SLJ DVD Review

Duck on a Tractor/Un pato en tractor. 11 min. Weston Woods. 2017. $59.95. ISBN 9781338161885. BL

PreS-Gr 3 –In 2002, Duck tried out a bicycle in Duck on a Bike, but author David Shannon left his audience on tenterhooks. What’s the next vehicle Duck will try? Here’s the answer: Duck drives the farm tractor, taking the other barnyard animals on a joyride through town. Shannon’s newest Duck tale follows the same pattern as the first, comparing what is said […]

Duck on a Bike/Un pato en bicicleta | SLJ DVD Review

Duck on a Bike/Un pato en bicicleta. 8 min. Weston Woods. 2017. $59.95. ISBN 9781338187021. BL

PreS-Gr 3 –Duck is a fowl with a fervor for adventure. Can he ride a bike? A few wobbles and he’s on his way! The other animals on the farm all have their say. Their responses range from amazement to scorn to envy. Envy wins out, and when more bikes are available, the whole barnyard is soon pedaling. This silly, delightful tale, based […]

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale | SLJ Audio Review

HALE, Shannon & Dean Hale. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World. 7 CDs. 7:53 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $24.99. ISBN 9781524734077. digital download.

Gr 4-7 –Fans of the Squirrel Girl comics, which feature a college-bound Squirrel Girl, will rejoice to learn of her superhero beginnings at age 14. Abigail Ravasch inhabits Doreen Green and her alter ego, Squirrel Girl, with finesse. Using her higher range, Ravasch creates a convincing teen voice that fills with snark or trembles […]

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise | SLJ DVD Review

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. (American Masters). 114 min. PBS. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781627899871.

Gr 6 Up –Ask students if they recognize the name Maya Angelou (1928–2014) and most will respond that she’s a writer and a poet, but few will know about the remarkably varied and prodigious path her life took. Directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack combine archival photos and film and interviews with an impressive array of high-profile individuals and, most effective, with Angelou […]

The Latest from Lisa Loeb | April 2017 ClefNotes

Twenty reviews of new children’s music

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Junie B. Jones First Ever Musical Edition! by Barbara Parks | SLJ Audio Review

PARKS, Barbara. Junie B. Jones First Ever Musical Edition! 2 CDs. 77 min. Listening Library. Jan. 2017. $20. ISBN 9780147523440. digital download.

Gr 1-3 –This fabulous 15-song production is centered on four previous stories—First Grader (at Last!), Boss of Lunch, One-Man Band, and Top Secret Personal Beeswax—and features the songs from Junie B. Jones, the Musical. In First Grader (at Last!), listeners discover that first grade can be a scary place, but it also offers new beginnings. The irrepressible […]

A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent by Anne Rockwell | SLJ Audio Review

ROCKWELL, Anne. A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent. 1 CD. 14 min. Dreamscape. Jan. 2017. $14.99. ISBN 9781520066172.

Gr 2-5 – The true story of James Lafayette, a Revolutionary double agent, will captivate and anger young listeners as they learn about the incredible dangers that James, an American enslaved person, took while trying to secure America’s freedom from the British and earning his own from his masters. At great danger to […]

Playing for the Devil’s Fire by Phillippe Diederich | SLJ Audio Review

DIEDERICH, Phillippe. Playing for the Devil’s Fire. 7 CDs. 8:14 hrs. Listening Library. Jan. 2017. $45. ISBN 9781524723842. digital download.

Gr 7 Up – Izayoc is an idyllic Mexican pueblo where 13-year-old Boli and his friends spend time ogling the girls, shining shoes to earn money, watching the luchadores (the wrestlers), and playing marbles in the hopes of winning the much-coveted “Devil’s Fire” marble. The new highway, however, has opened the town up to dangerous people. Body parts appear, […]

The Colin Thompson Collection by Colin Thompson | SLJ Audio Review

THOMPSON, Colin. The Colin Thompson Collection. 1 CD. 13 min. Brilliance. Dec. 2016. $14.99. ISBN 9781489358387. digital download.

PreS-K – This whimsical collection by Thompson centers on two dogs, Fearless—a lumbering, bighearted bulldog who is quite the opposite of what his name implies—and Stanley. The four tales include Fearless, in which the not-quite watchdog timidly instructs a startled burglar that standing on the table is inappropriate behavior, thus awakening his owners and thwarting the theft; Fearless in Love, in […]