August 21, 2017

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“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 […]

Six young men grow through African folklore in “Finding the Gold Within” | DVD Pick

Finding the Gold Within. 92 min. Distributed by the Video Project. 2014. $89. ISBN unavail.
Gr 9 Up–This documentary follows the lives of six young African American men as they move from high school through their first year of college. Each has faced adversity, whether it is poverty, homelessness, loss of family, or their own challenges in the face of subtle and explicit racism. They live in Akron, OH, and grew up with dreams and ambitions, along with the burden of […]

Historical fiction brings WWI items to life in “The Great War”| Audio Pick

The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items From The First World War. 5 CDs. 6:28 hrs. Brilliance. 2015. $49.97. ISBN 9781501216008.
Gr 5-8–At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, Germany and the Allies signed the truce ending the Great War, as World War I was then called. Here 11 authors—Tanya Lee Stone, Marcus Sedgwick, David Almond, Timothée de Fombelle, A.L. Kennedy, Ursula Dubosarsky, Michael Morpurgo, John Boyne, Tracy Chevalier, Sheena Wilkinson, and Adèle Geras—have […]

Fantasy novel “Shadow Scale” excels in audio format | Audio Pick

HARTMAN, Rachel. Shadow Scale. (Seraphina, Bk. 2). 15 CDs. 18:10 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $60. ISBN 9780307968982. digital download.
Gr 9 Up—To save Goreddi, Seraphina begins to search for other half-dragons in the hopes they can unite to stop dragons from damaging the fragile peace between humans and dragons. Her journey takes her to other regions in the Southlands, and some of the people she seeks prove to be malevolent. When her old nemesis, Jannoula, gains control of the other half-dragons’ […]

“She’s Beautiful” deftly spotlights second wave feminism| DVD Pick

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. 92 min. Dist. by the Cinema Guild. 2014. $99.94. ISBN 0781515149.
Gr 9 Up–This documentary about the second wave of feminism covers the years 1966–71. It deftly pulls together the many threads and factions of the movement, from middle-class housewives responding to Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, many of whom became the founders of the National Organization of Women, to radical groups such as the Redstockings and the lesbians of the Furies Collective. Additionally, women flocked […]

Engaging, informative documentary explores “The Last Orangutan Eden” | DVD Pick

The Last Orangutan Eden. (Nature). 53 min. Dist. by PBS. 2015. $19.99. ISBN 9781627892834.
Gr 4 Up–This documentary follows ecologist and host Chris Morgan on his journey exploring the plight of orangutans within the jungles of Northern Sumatra. Deforestation of their habitat is causing the species to diminish. Young orphans are taken to a rehabilitation center, where they can recover and eventually be released to a nature reserve. Since orangutans learn how to survive in the wild by watching their mother […]

“Groundswell Rising” reports on the continued dangers of fracking| DVD Pick

Groundswell Rising: Protecting Our Children’s Air & Water. 70 min. and 52 min.  Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2014.  $295.  Rent $95.  ISBN 194154519X.
Gr 7 Up–In this timely and critically important report, the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, are laid out in unequivocal terms by residents in Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and New York, where hydraulic mining to release natural gas is taking place or has been proposed. Spurred to activism to safeguard the health of their children […]

“Listen, Slowly” explores a teen’s journey from the valley to Vietnam| Audio Pick

LAI, Thanhhà. Listen, Slowly. digital download. 8 hrs. Harper Audio. 2015. $18.99. ISBN 9780062346469.
Gr 6-8–Mai (though at school in Laguna Beach she’s known as “Mia”) is a seventh grade valley girl who is expected to accompany her grandmother on an all-summer visit to Vietnam. Bà fled Vietnam with her children during the Fall of Saigon, and doesn’t know what happened to her husband, Mai’s grandfather. Occasionally using her rudimentary Vietnamese, Mai tells the story (grudgingly adding SAT vocabulary sent daily […]

Incredible abilities are showcased in “Owl Power”|DVD Pick

Owl Power. (Nature). 53 min. Dist. By PBS. 2015.  $19.99. ISBN  9781627892827.
Gr 5 Up–Owls are known to have keen eyesight, and this film informs viewers that there is much more to their hunting skills and their nocturnal habits. The main focus here is the manner in which scientists are able to study the owl’s unique set of superpowers. Bird trainers Lloyd and Rose Buck provide a rare and up-close opportunity for viewers—two baby barn owls are seen hatching in an […]

Jim Dale brings well-loved characters to life in “The Mr. Men Collection” | Audio Pick

HARGREAVES, Roger. The Mr. Men Collection Vol. 1. 1 CD. 59 min. Listening Library. 2015. $10. ISBN 9781101891285. digital download.
PreS-Gr 2–This recording features ten titles from the appealing collection of brief books that highlight Hargreaves’s classic “Mr. Men” tales. Mr. Happy ends up chuckling with a now-smiling Mr. Miserable. Mr. Messy leaves the cap off his toothpaste, Mr. Small slips into the mustard, and Mr. Brave rushes to arrive on time for tea to avoid upsetting stern Miss Bossy. There […]

Powerful film explores the dire consequences of plastic| DVD Pick

Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 57 min. Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2014. $350. Rent $85. ISBN 1941545246.
Gr 7 Up–After seeing this documentary, viewers will not think of plastic in the same way again and will likely be inspired to make some personal changes, such as carrying reusable bags. Journalist Angela Sun’s journey to find the so-called drifting plastic island takes her to the remote Midway Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There plastic debris from the […]

Animal adventures and fun lessons abound in “Humphrey” collection | Audio Pick

Birney, Betty G. Humphrey Audio Collection, Books 8-11. 11 CDs. 13 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $75. ISBN 9780553556490. digital download.
Gr 3-7–Everyone’s favorite golden hamster is back in this audio presentation of four of the books by Birney. In “Mysteries According to Humphrey,” Humphrey’s class is reading Sherlock Holmes, a substitute takes over, and Humphrey has his own mysteries to solve. “Winter According to Humphrey” brings snow, a pageant, and all the winter holidays. In “Secrets According to Humphrey,” the class […]

A cozy barnyard tale prepares youngsters for bedtime|Audio Pick

RAY, Mary Lyn. Go to Sleep, Little Farm. 1 CD. 15 min. $15.75. Recorded Books. 2015. ISBN 9781490660080. digital download.
K-Gr 2–On a quiet farm a variety of creatures are preparing for sleep: gray mice hide under roots, a beaver makes a bed in a bog, and a little girl prepares to go to sleep. The sweet storyline and crafty wordsmithing combine for a work that children will love to listen to before going to bed. Such lines as “Somewhere a […]

Lifelong civil rights activist celebrated in “Barber of Birmingham”| DVD Pick

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement. 26 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2014. $59. ISBN unavail.
Gr 7 Up–This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma march, and this documentary introduces viewers to a man described as a foot soldier for the civil rights movement: 85-year-old James Armstrong. He carried a flag when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. marched towards the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and his Armstrong Barbershop (parts of which seem held together […]

Black’s “Forest” is chock-full of magic and mystery | Audio Pick

Black, Holly. The Darkest Part of the Forest. 8 CDs. 8:30 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2015. $25. ISBN 9781478955894. digital download.
Gr 8 Up–A small town, sibling pairs, a beautiful horned boy who has been entombed in a clear casket for as long as anyone in the town can remember, and a dark forest inhabited by Fae folk of all shapes, sizes, and temperaments—these are just a few of the elements Black blends together to create this riveting and engrossing story that […]

“Oil & Water” drills deep into the issue of conservation | DVD Pick

Oil & Water. 78 and 55 min. Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2014. $295. Rent $95. ISBN 1941545165.
Gr 9 Up–This exquisitely edited documentary focuses on two young men who have dedicated their lives to the preservation of the indigenous culture and the ecosystem of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Hugo Lucitante, a member of the Cofán tribe, spent years in the U.S. and graduated from a Seattle high school. The film follows Lucitante over the next several years as he returns home to […]

“This is the Rope” discusses importance of family and history | Audio Pick

WOODSON, Jacqueline. This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration. 1 CD. 7 min. Weston Woods. 2014. $12.95. ISBN 9780545790512.
Gr K-2–Something as simple as a discarded rope has tied a family story together through several generations. In the middle of the 20th century, an African American family moves from South Carolina to Brooklyn, NY, making the great migration north as many other families bravely did at the time. This tale follows a family through several generations, always coming […]

“Little Big Girls” explores puberty and its effects | DVD Pick

Little Big Girls. 52 min. Dist. by National Film Board of Canada. 2014. $295 (PPR). ISBN unvail.
Gr 5 Up–Three of the times in a girl’s life when she’s told she’s a “big girl” are depicted in the animated introduction: when she learns to use the potty; then when she rides her bike without training wheels for the first time; and lastly, when she gets her first bra. The subject here is early puberty, and the candid interviews with girls who […]

A Nat Geo explorer gets up close and personal in “Crocodile Encounters!”| Audio Pick

Barr, Brady with Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. Crocodile Encounters! And More True Stories of Adventures With Animals. 1 CD. 45 min. Recorded Bks. 2014. $15.75. ISBN 9781490635873. digital download.
Gr 2-4–National Geographic explorer Barr presents four suspenseful and often humorous tales of his encounters with crocodiles. In “Undercover Croc,” he dons a specially developed crocodile suit to enter into a large group of fearsome crocodiles. In “Toy Story,” he tries to capture a crocodile using a remote-controlled car and milk jug with […]

“Me…Jane” paints portrait of Goodall as a curious youngster | DVD Pick

Me…Jane. 9 min. Dist. by Weston Woods. 2014. $59.95. ISBN 9780545696869.
PreS-Gr 2–In this heartwarming portrait of primatologist Jane Goodall as a young girl, author Patrick McDonnell eloquently tells the story of young adventurous Jane. She, along with her stuffed chimpanzee, Jubliee, delights in exploring the outdoors; observing animals and nature; and finding magic in such things as the discovery of where eggs come from. Children will love the simple text of this Caldecott Honor–winning picture book (Little, Brown, 2011), which […]