March 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Multimedia Reviews | August 2013

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LMNO Peas (Weston Woods)
©2010 by Keith Baker

redstarLMNO Peas. DVD. 6 min. with tchr’s. guide. Weston Woods. 2013. ISBN 978-0-545-57155-5. $59.95; CD, ISBN 978-0-575-57156-2: $12.95; CD with hardcover book, ISBN 978-0-575-57154-8: $29.95.

PreS-Gr 1–Keith Baker’s incredibly inventive occupation-based alphabet book (Beach Lane, 2010) has been beautifully designed and hilariously interpreted by premier animators, Soup2Nuts. You will never look at little green peas the same way again! Tiny round pea people cavort about with delightful vocals by Crystal Taliefero and backup singers, including the Oakview Elementary Choir. The peas literally animate the alphabet, illuminating different activities and jobs for each of the 26 letters, beginning with acrobats, astronauts, and artists. They humorously demonstrate actions and occupations like climbers and campers; painters, poets, and plumbers; quitters and quarterbacks. The DVD is punctuated by infectious rhythms and rhymes that young children will want to emulate again and again. Baker’s colorful letters are constantly swarming with unique pea people. Turn on the read-along subtitles so students can follow the highlighted letters and words easily. A teacher’s guide is included, as is an outstanding interview with the author/illustrator. “We are peas! The alphabet peas! Now tell us, please, who are you?” This perfect lead-in invites teachers and kids to follow the pattern with other veggies. Never has the alphabet been more entertaining.–Lonna Pierce, MacArthur & Thomas Jefferson Schools, Binghamton, NY

redstarThe Last Flight of Petr Ginz. DVD. 67 min. First Run Features. 2013. ISBN unavail. $24.95.

Gr 12 Up–If only Petr Ginz had survived World War II, his contribution to literature, art, and humanity would have enriched the world. Such is the sentiment viewers are likely to feel after watching this unique biography of a Czech boy living during the Nazi occupation. Petr lived in Prague, attended a school for exceptional children, read Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, and created illustrated literary fantasies all before he was transported to Auschwitz in 1944 and murdered at age 17. Despite deepening Nazi intrusions into Jewish life, Petr managed to create optimistic diaries and novels festooned with artwork. Cleverly disguised as “written by Jules Verne, illustrated by Petr Ginz,” he self-published the allegorical tale Ka-Du, a story about a mechanical monster designed to help its evil creators conquer the world. Clearly meant to parallel Nazi activity, Petr finished his masterpiece just before being deported to the Terezin Ghetto. There, he continued writing and drawing, even creating a cryptic code to record events. His life is retold by his surviving younger sister and through creative animation based on his original art. Black-and-white footage, stills, and family photos add to this affecting story. John Califra’s musical score sets the tone for this documentary about an intellectual youth undaunted by the Holocaust. Winning awards in Jerusalem, Atlanta, and Toronto, this film is an entertaining and powerful testament to a persistently positive and talented young man. An excellent choice for history, art, music, and social ethics classes.–Robin Levin, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher/Fellow, Ft. Washakie, WY

redstarDoll Bones. By Holly Black. 5 CDs. 5:12 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8041-2292-4. $35.

Gr 5-8–Black’s tale (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013) of friendship and the trials of growing up is set against the backdrop of a spooky ghost story. Zach Barlow loves to make things up. He and his friends Poppy and Alice spend every afternoon concocting new adventures for their dolls and action figures. However, Zach’s recently returned father is less than thrilled about his son spending his time playing with dolls instead of taking part in more age-appropriate activities, such as basketball. When he commits a drastic act to force Zach to give up his play-acting, it precipitates a series of events that send Zach, Poppy, and Alice on a midnight quest to lay to rest the soul of a murdered girl, a soul that now inhabits a bone china doll.  Along the way, the trio uncovers secrets about the past and one another, and discovers that they are capable of more than they ever realized. Nick Podehl expertly voices the three friends as well as the unforgettable characters Tin-Shoe Joe and the pink-haired librarian, Miss Katherine. Black has written an adventurous ghost tale that fans of Mary Downing Hahn and Peg Kehret and devotees of the author’s previous novels will love.–Michaela Schied, formerly, Indian River Middle School, Philadelphia, NY

redstarJoshua Dread. By Lee Bacon. 5 CDs. 5:46 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8041-2185-9. $45.

Gr 4-7–Sixth grader Joshua Dread’s life is far from ordinary. As the son of the super villains, the Dread Duo, Josh spends most of his time traveling from town to town. Living in Sheepdale for a while, Josh has adjusted to a fairly normal existence, when he becomes “gyfted” with the power of spontaneous combustion. When new girl Sophie shows up at school, Josh finds another “gyfted” teen, but Sophie is also the daughter of Captain Justice, his parents’ archenemy. When his parents are taken by smoke creatures, it is up to Josh, with help from Sophie and his “ungyfted” best friend, Milton, to help save the day. Bacon has developed an entertaining and clever plot and two dynamite tweens with superpowers in this novel (Delacorte, 2012). Narrator Maxwell Glick captures the comic antics of the superheroes and villains perfectly and his voices for Joshua and Sophie reflect their unique personalities. A fun read filled with comedy and daring antics. The second book in the series, Joshua Dread: The Nameless Hero, is scheduled for September 2013 publication.–Sarah Flood, Breckinridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg, KY

redstarAnna and the Cupcakes. Performed by The Bari Koral Family Rock Band. CD. approx. 32 min. Bari Koral. 2012. ISBN unavail. $13.57.

PreS-Gr 2–In this follow-up to their 2010 album, Rock and Roll Garden, singer-songwriter Koral and her crew of talented musicians combine pop, folk, and rock in a delightful collection of 10 child-friendly songs, which cover such topics as shoes, trains, rocket ships, and a mother’s love for her baby. Also included is a toe-tapping sing-along that will get children up as they act out the movements of several different animals, a very groovy take on the gingerbread man, and a song that beautifully describes the life cycle of a butterfly in terms that even young children can understand. While several of the numbers could be used for story times or in the classroom, all of the songs would be great for family listening. A fun must-have for every collection.–Veronica De Fazio, Plainfield Public Library District, IL

redstarDeep Sea Diver. Performed by Recess Monkey. CD. 42 min. Recess Monkey. 2013. ISBN unavail. $14.99.

PreS-Gr 3–This ocean-themed album, set in a submarine, travels the seven seas discovering musical treasures. Drew Holloway and Jack Forman welcome drummer Korum Bishoff, a new band member, on their ninth album, a rip-roaring, high energy mix of rock, hip-hop, funk, Latin, sea shanty, folk, and pop musical styles. With outstanding vocal and instrumental performances on guitar, bass, mandolin, violin, viola, cello, trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, Wurly, and drums, the band begins with the rousing, rhythm powered “Tambourine Submarine.” Then a drum-playing fish demonstrates every kind of music on his drum set in “Fish Sticks.” They discover a coral reef that is actually a “Choral Reef” that makes beautiful music. “Shrimp” has size issues, but realizes there are perks to being short. A “Seahorse” is the deep sea cowboy’s mount as he ropes shrimp and patrols the mangroves. The other songs include “The Deep End” (of the swimming pool), “Beach Ball,” “Compass Rose,” “Tattoo Me,” “The Seven Cs” (all the crew’s names begin with that letter), “Seagull,” “Up Periscope,” “Walkie Talkies,” “Making Waves,” and “Stranded” (when a best friend moves away). With zippy, quirky lyrics and superb musicianship, Recess Monkey continues to be a cut above other kindie bands.–Beverly Wrigglesworth, San Antonio Public Library, TX

redstarI Like Everything About You (Yes I Do!). Performed by Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble. CD. 42 min. Crosspulse Media. 2013. ISBN unavail. $15.

Gr all levels–This outstanding first album for children and families from Crosspulse Percussion features melodies, rhythms, and instruments from around the world, with an emphasis on African music. Keith Terry, Omar Ledezma, Amber Hines, Evie Ladin, and Tacuma King make up the ensemble, and all give excellent performances on vocals (with gorgeous harmonies), instruments, and body rhythms. In a number of songs, they make creative use of body sounds: whistling, claps, steps, stomps, snaps, and clogging foot percussion. Well-known instruments include banjo, upright bass, harmonica, tin can, chopsticks, sticks, cowbell, and tambourine. The ensemble also performs on different kinds of drums: seko drums, congas, frame drum, and krin (African slit or log drums); and on such world instruments and percussion as nose flute, bolon, cajón, bamboo spoons, gongi bells, karinyan, maracas, quitiplas (bamboo stamping tubes), and claves. Many numbers are traditional folk songs from various cultures: “Yamawele” (Congo); “Little Liza Jane” from England, but with African rhythms; “Cumbe” a scarf dance from Venezuela; “Rara” (Haiti); “CooCoo” (Appalachia); and “Krin” (Ghana). Keith Terry contributes three pieces: “Jalan-Jalan,” “I Like Everything About You,” and “Body Beat” which moves from African American hambone through modern body music, Duke Ellington’s “Caravan,” a Spanish rap, and ends with intricate rhythms. The funky “Walkin’ the Dog,” “Breaths” (a Sweet Honey in the Rock song), and “Flores” by Pedro Izquierdo of Havana round out the playlist. This unique album is a great introduction to world music and rhythm for children and a listening feast for the whole family.–Beverly Wrigglesworth, San Antonio Public Library, TX

redstarListen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music. CD. 26 min. with book. The Secret Mountain. 2013. ISBN 978-1-923163-89-5. $16.95.

K-Gr 2–The London Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Moscow, the Toronto Chamber Orchestra, and several other professional music groups give instrumental voice to a wide variety of birds. These wonderful performances feature whole orchestras or single instruments, such as voices, flute, violin, organ, piano, and harpsichord. Excerpts from 20 classical pieces include “Spring” from Four Seasons (Vivaldi); Le Chant des Oiseaux (Janequin); “Melancholy” from Cantus Arcticus (Rautavaara); “The Bird” from Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev); “Hens and Roosters,” “Aviary,” and “The Swan,” from The Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns); “Dance of the Little Swans” from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky); “Song of the Lark” from Album for the Young (Tchaikovsky); “Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks” from Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky); “The Cuckoo and the Nightingale” from Concerto for Organ and Orchestra (Handel); “The Robin” from Small Sketches of Birds (Messiaen); “Papageno and Papagena” from The Magic Flute (Mozart); “Dance of the Firebird” from Firebird (Stravinsky); and more. The accompanying, illustrated book includes notes about the birds, the musical excerpts, and the composers; a glossary of musical terms; and a time line of the composers and their periods. A truly enriching experience.–Beverly Wrigglesworth, San Antonio Public Library, TX

The following titles are reviewed in the August 1, 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Arts & Crafts

Book SmARTS & Crafts: Crafts & Activities for Tweens & Teens. 2 DVDs. approx. 3 hrs. Page Turner Adventures. 2013. ISBN unavail. $175.


Ballet Class for Kids! A Fantasy Garden I & II. DVD. 70 min. Kultur. 2013. ISBN 978-0-7697-5011-8. $19.99.


Adventures of Bailey: A Night in Cowtown. DVD. 85 min. Prod. by Engine 15 Media Group, Hungry Bear Prods. Dist. by Entertainment One. 2013. ISBN unavail. $14.98.

Car’s Life 3: The Royal Heist. DVD 85 min. Prod. by Engine 15 Media Group and Spark Plug Entertainment. Dist. by Entertainment One. 2013. ISBN 1-4172-3958-1. $12.98.


Children and Grief: Children Teaching Children about Grief. DVD. 40 min. with workbook online. Professor Child. ISBN unavail. $34.99.


Maintaining a Healthy Heart: An Owner’s Guide. DVD. 21 min. with tchr’s. guide. Human Relations Media. 2013. ISBN 978-1-55548-974-8. $149.95.


Grief & Loss: A Child’s Perspective. DVD. 22 min. Listen 2 Kids Prods. 2012. ISBN 978-0-9982270-1-6. $24.95.

Language Arts

Big Mouth. DVD. 8 min. National Film Board of Canada. 2013. ISBN unavail. $99.

Great Authors of the British Isles (Series). 4 DVDs. 56 min. ea. with tchr’s. guide. Prod. by Centre Communications. Dist. by Ambrose Video. 2012. ISBN unavail. $199.99 ser. Includes: Beowulf to Shakespeare/The Renaissance Writers; Augustan and Romantic Poets/Early Novelists; Children’s Literature/The Genre Innovators; 20th Century Poets and Playwrights/20th Century Novelists.

Great Irish Authors. DVD. approx. 1:30 hrs. with tchr’s. guide. Ambrose Video. 2013. ISBN unavail. $49.99.

WordGirl vs. the Energy Monster. DVD. 50 min. PBS Dist. 2013. ISBN 978-1-60883-866-0. $9.99.


Monkey Monkey Music: Let’s All Make a Circle. DVD. 45 min. with tchr’s. guide. Monkey Monkey Music. 2013. ISBN unavail. $19.99.


The New Green Giants. DVD. 47 min. Bullfrog Films. 2013. ISBN 978-1-93777-248-9. $250.

Social Studies

Bidder 70. DVD. 72 min. Prod. by Gage and Gage Prods. Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2013. ISBN 1-93777-247-0, $295.

La Joya and the Warriors of the Mist. DVD 60 min. Prod. by Worldwide Media Organization. Dist. by Worldwide Academic Media. 2012. ISBN 978-1-59163-959-6. $29.95.

Nothing Like Chocolate. DVD. 68 min./55 min. Prod. by Mirror and Hammer Films. Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2013. ISBN 1-93777-246-2 $295.

Orchestra of Exiles. DVD. 1:25 hrs. Prod. by Aronson Films. Dist. by First Run Features. 2012, 2013 release. ISBN unavail. $27.95.

Test-Taking Skills

Big Test Success: Motivational Videos for Kids. DVD. 45 min. Page Turner Adventures. 2013. ISBN unavail. $99.


Many of these titles are available for download and/or in Playaway format. Check distributors’ websites,, and audio download retailers for availability and price.

Bilingual Education

Hola Hello. CD. 40:20 min. 2013. ISBN unavail. $15.

Language Arts

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & the Beast. By Robin McKinley. 6 cassettes or 6 CDs. 7 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-6024-5, CD: ISBN 987-1-4703-7725-0. $54.75.

Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School: In Harm’s Way. By Andrew Clements. 3 CDs. 3:30 hrs. S & S Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4423-5302-2. $14.99.

Bittersweet. By Sarah Ockler. 9 CDS. 10:59 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8041-2349-5. $65.

Chasing the Prophecy: The Beyonders, Book 3. By Brandon Mull. 13 cassettes or 13 CDs. 15:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-7302-3, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-5785-6. $108.75.

Clementine and the Spring Trip. By Sara Pennypacker. 1 cassette or 2 CDs. 2:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4407-7813-1, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-5784-9. $46.75.

Clockwork Princess: Infernal Devices, Book 3. By Cassandra Clare. 14 CDs. 16.25 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette, ISBN 978-1-4703-6249-2, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-4639-3. $97.75.

Colossus Rises: Seven Wonders, Book 1. By Peter Lerangis. 7 CDs. 8 hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-0-06-228636-9. $19.99.

Darius and Twig. By Walter Dean Myers. 4 cassettes or 4 CDs: 4:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-6203-4, CD: ISBN 978-1-61976. $46.75.

Dark Triumph: His Fair Assassin, Book 2. By Robin LaFevers. 12 cassettes or 12 CDs. 13:30 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4640-2395-8, CD: ISBN 978-1-4640-2394-1. $108.75.

The End of Infinity: Jack Blank Adventure Trilogy #3. By Matt Myklusch. 6 cassettes or 6 CDs. 7:30 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4640-0768-2, CD: ISBN 978-1-4640-0769-9. $97.75.

Family Tree #1: Better to Wish. By Ann M. Martin. 4 CDs. 4:34 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8041-2232-0. $30.

Ghoulish Song. By William Alexander. 4 CDs. 3:57 hrs. Simon & Schuster Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4423-6306-9. $19.99.

Gorgeous. By Paul Rudnick. 10 CDs. 12:02 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2013. ISBN 978-0-545-58522-4. $64.99.

The Head That Wears a Crown: Speeches for Royal Men by William Shakespeare. Performed by Alan Cumming. CD. approx. 45 min. Prod. by GPR Records. Dist. by Naxos. 2013. ISBN 978-0-9888369-4-5. $19.95.

Hold Fast. By Blue Balliett. 7 CDs. 7:44 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2013. ISBN 978-0-545-49766-4. $34.99.

In a Glass Grimmly. By Adam Gidwitz. 6 cassettes or 6 CDs. 6:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-6202-7, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-196-9. $66.75.

Janie Face to Face. By Caroline B. Cooney. 9 cassettes or 9 CDs. 11 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-6246-1, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-5116-8. $77.75.

Jimmy the Greatest! By Jairo Buitrago. cassette or CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-6200-3, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-5. $15.75; hardcover book, ISBN 97801-5549-8178-6: $18.95.

The Look. By Sophia Bennett. 7 cassettes or 7 CDs. 8:30 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4640-1517-5, CD: ISBN 978-1-4640-1525-1. $66.75.

Nerd Girls: A Catastrophe of Nerdish Proportions. By Alan Lawrence Sitomer. 8 cassettes or 8 CDs. 9 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4618-0521-2, CD: ISBN 978-1-4618-0522-0. $66.75.

Odessa Again. By Dana Reinhardt. 3 CDs.3:42 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-449-01530-8. $30.

Otis and the Puppy. By Loren Long. cassette or CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-5089-5, CD ISBN 978-1-4703-5088-8. $15.75; hardcover book, ISBN 978-0-3992-5469-7: $17.99.

The Pirate’s Coin: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure. By Marianne Malone. 5 CDs. 5:12 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8041-2162-0,. $35.

The Program. By Suzanne Young. 9 cassettes or 9 CDs. 10:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4730-4657-7, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-4655-3. $87.75.

Puppy Mudge Finds a Friend (Picture Book Readalongs). By Cynthia Rylant. CD. 3:22 min. with paperback book. Live Oak Media. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4301-1414-7. $18.95.

Puppy Mudge Wants to Play (Picture Book Readalongs). By Cynthia Rylant. CD. 3:13 min. with paperback book. Live Oak Media. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4301-1414-7. $18.95.

Rear-View Mirrors. By Paul Fleischman. 2 CDs. 2:31 hrs. AudioGO. 2013. ISBN 978-0-7927-9445-5. $49.95.

The Runaway King: The Ascendancy Trilogy, Book 2. By Jennifer A. Nielsen. 7 CDs. 8:27 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2013. ISBN 978-0-545-58082-3. $64.99.

Silent Letters Loud and Clear. By Robin Pulver. CD. 12:35 min. with paperback book. Live Oak Media. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4301-1119-1. $18.95.

A Slave Story: From Africa to Charleston. CD. 31 min. The Simone Club. 2013. ISBN unavail. $6.98.

Tiger Lily. By Jodi Lynn Anderson. 6 CDs. 7:14 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-385-36852-0. $50.

Twerp. By Mark Goldblatt. 5 CDs. 5:22 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8041-2158-3. $40.

The Vine Basket. By Josanne La Valley. 5 CDs. 5:53 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-385-36388-4.4. $45.


Everyone Is Someone: Songs of Social and Emotional Responsibility. Performed by David Kisor (and friends). CD. 42:23 min. Growing Sound. 2012. ISBN unavail. $9.99.

15 Songs Every Kid Should Know. Performed by various artists. CD. 41 min. Prod. by Bossy Frog Prods. Dist. by AV Café. 2013. ISBN unavail. $15.

Hide and Seek. Performed by The Battersby Duo. CD. 29:40 min. Battersby Duo. 2013. ISBN unavail. $12.

Latin Dreamland. CD. 26:16 min. with booklet. Putumayo Kids. 2013. ISBN unavail. $14.98.


A Black Hole Is NOT a Hole. By Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano. CD. 1:17 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8041-2181-1. $15.

Social Studies

Orphan Train Rider: One Boy’s True Story. By Andrea Warren. 2 CDs. 1:26 hrs. AudioGo. 2013. ISBN 978-0-7927-9640-4. $29.95.