September 21, 2017

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SLJ’s September 2017 Popular Picks

Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper sequel will thrill old and new fans; Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is illustrated for a young audience; and a city mouse finds food and adventure in this month’s Popular Picks!

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

The Playbook by Kwame Alexander | SLJ Audio Review

ALEXANDER, Kwame. The Playbook: 52 Rules To Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. 1 CD. 1 hr. Recorded Bks. Feb. 2017. $15.75. ISBN 9781501949180. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Alexander delivers 52 inspiring rules and motivational life lessons using notable sports figures, terminology, and stories. Sections include “Warm-Up: The Rules,” in which Alexander reminisces about his childhood involvement in sports and the lessons he learned. Four “Quarters,” with a “Half Time” and an “Overtime,” comprise the rest of the book. Each section […]

First Footprints | SLJ DVD Review

First Footprints. 3:49 hrs. Dreamscape. 2017. $24.99. $199.99 (PPR). ISBN 818506020268.

Gr 10 Up –This four-part, two-disc series illuminates Australia’s ancient human history. The episodes follow in historical order, beginning with the earliest migrations into Australia, which occurred some 50,000 years ago. The final segment concludes with contact between Indigenous Australians and European explorers and merchants. Viewers learn about Australia’s remote history, including the oldest discovered human remains on the continent, Lake Mungo Man, from tens of thousands of years ago. […]

Jazz Day | SLJ DVD Review

Jazz Day. 74 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99. ISBN 9781520071053.

Gr 4-6 –It was a hot August day in 1955 when Art Kane gathered jazz musicians for a photograph for Esquire magazine. He wasn’t sure who, if anyone, would show up at the Harlem brownstone he’d chosen for his backdrop. He’d put out the word, and now he could only hold his two cameras and hope. The result was the iconic photograph—Harlem 1958—that features 57 jazz musicians of the time. Count Basie was there, […]

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus | SLJ Audio Review

MCMANUS, Karen M. One of Us Is Lying. 9 CDs. 11:44 hrs. Listening Library. May 2017. $65. ISBN 9781524756901. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Five high school students walk into a normal Monday after-school detention but only four leave alive. Simon, the dead student, was despised for the secrets he revealed in his toxic gossip app targeting the students of Bayview High. The remaining four students all have reasons to want Simon dead, and the police quickly zoom in on all of them […]

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | SLJ Audio Review

THOMAS, Angie. The Hate U Give. 9 CDs. 11:40 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2017. $39.99. ISBN 9781470827137. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Starr has learned to adapt her personality to fit two worlds. “Garden Heights Starr” helps her ex-gangbanger father in his neighborhood grocery. “Williamson Starr” has a white boyfriend, and is one of the few black students at a tony prep school in an exclusive part of town. When gunshots ring out at a Garden Heights party, Starr and her friend Khalil leave. […]

DVD: Folk Tales, Eco-Activism, & Art as Therapy | August 2017 Xpress Reviews

Timeless folk tales are rejuvenated for a young audience; two documentaries explore the poor effects of artificial light on fireflies; an analysis of the Battle of Waterloo.

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

Best of Raffi | SLJ Music Review

Best of Raffi. Performed by Raffi. CD. Approx. 35 min. Rounder Records. 2017. $9.49.

PreS-Gr 4 –Multi-award-winning Raffi, one of the first of the children’s music troubadours and who’s celebrating 40 years as an entertainer, presents 16 of his best songs from 10 albums. Featured here are both traditional and original songs in folk, reggae, jazz, country, and pop musical styles. The titles include “Baby Beluga,” “Down by the Bay,” “Apples and Bananas,” “Shake My Sillies Out,” “Wheels on the Bus,” “Day […]

Nero’s Sunken City | SLJ DVD Review

Nero’s Sunken City. (Secrets of the Dead). 55 min. PBS. 2017. $24.99. ISBN 9781531701758.

Gr 9 Up –This episode examines the archaeological remains of Baiae, an ancient Roman city in the Bay of Naples. One half of the ruins are now underwater, as the land has shifted over time owing to seismic forces. This city is the site of ruins of palaces of the Roman Empire’s elites in the first through third centuries AD. Emperor Claudius (10 BC–54 AD) had an […]

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.