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Kid's Featured Items
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 12/17/2012 - 10:40
Iron hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill ; illustrations by Iacopo Bruno
The end of their world begins with a story.
In most fairy tales, princesses are beautiful, dragons are terrifying, and stories are harmless. This isn't most fairy tales.
Princess Violet is plain, reckless, and quite possibly too clever for her own good. Particularly when it comes to telling stories. One day she and her best friend, Demetrius, stumble upon a hidden room and find a peculiar book. A forbidden book. It tells a story of an evil being -- called the Nybbas -- imprisoned in their world. The story cannot be true -- not really. But then the whispers start. Violet and Demetrius, along with an ancient, scarred dragon, may hold the key to the Nybbas's triumph . . . or its demise. It all depends on how they tell the story. After all, stories make their own rules.
Iron Hearted Violet is a story of a princess unlike any other. It is a story of the last dragon in existence, deathly afraid of its own reflection. Above all, it is a story about the power of stories, our belief in them, and how one enchanted tale changed the course of an entire kingdom.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 10:23
The Poppy Lady : Moina Belle Michael and her tribute to veterans by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh
Moina Belle Michael was teaching at the University of Georgia’s Normal School in 1917, when her country entered the first World War. Vowing to do what she could for the “lads” in uniform, she began by knitting socks and rolling bandages. Later she took a position in New York City, where she helped departing soldiers. Inspired by McCrae’s poem beginning “In Flanders fields the poppies blow,” Michael launched a successful campaign encouraging people to wear poppies in honor of fallen soldiers. An epilogue brings the story up-to-date. Inspired by Walsh’s father’s contact with Michael when he was a solider in World War II, this informative picture book is based on original interviews as well as Michael’s book The Miracle Flower (1941), articles, and websites. Rich with color, Johnson’s narrative paintings portray Michael’s life and times with warmth, drama, and attention to detail. Teachers looking for a heartfelt alternative to the familiar, too-often-pedestrian children’s books on Veterans Day and Memorial Day may want to introduce their students to the compassionate, determined “Poppy Lady.” Grades 2-5. --Carolyn Phelan
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 12/03/2012 - 09:33
In this imaginative retelling, the jealous, overlooked fairy who curses Sleeping Beauty is recast as a sickly, bookish teenager. Thirteen-year-old Gorse belongs to the Shouting Fey, a clan of mischievous fairies with powerful voices. In a subversive departure from the original tale in which benevolent fairies bestow gifts at the infant's christening, Yolen portrays the relationship between the royal family and the Shouting Fey as downright feudal. Tied to their land by an ancient oath, the Fey are compelled to perform spells at the whim of their capricious monarchs. On the day of the christening, Gorse rushes to the palace only to fall down a hole into a cave where she discovers two fey princes who have been banished for years, as well as revelations about her family's past. The frequent references to fairy lore are occasionally overwhelming; however, Yolen has crafted an intricate world full of well-developed characters. The incantations that the fey often invoke ("Blow and sow/This fertile ground/Until the knot/Be all unwound") add a lyrical quality to the elegant prose. Readers who typically prefer fairy-tale retellings, such as those by Donna Jo Napoli or Robin McKinley, may be put off because the plot largely revolves around Gorse's escape from the cave rather than Sleeping Beauty herself, but fans of more unconventional fantasy adaptations, such as Gregory Maguire's Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995), will enjoy seeing an antagonist receive a rich, compelling backstory.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journalα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 11/26/2012 - 12:16
There goes Ted Williams : the greatest hitter who ever lived by Matt Tavares
Ted Williams' goal was, as the subtitle suggests, to be the greatest hitter who ever lived. His career was legendary, even though, for several seasons at the peak of his abilities, it was interrupted by military service in World War II and Korea. He was able to capitalize on dramatic moments; he hit home runs in his first game upon returning from World War II, in his last game before reporting for duty in Korea and again when he returned. And of course he hit one for his last major league at-bat. Williams was a complex and difficult personality, but Tavares chooses to focus on these larger-than-life heroics, telling of Williams' desire to be the best at everything he attempted and the joy he felt when he accomplished his goals. The language is rich in imagery, with short, action-packed sentences. The free-verse text is either separated on a sepia background framed in red, or laid over the illustrations. Commanding watercolor, gouache and pencil illustrations depict Williams in action as a boy, a major-leaguer and a Navy pilot. Tavares captures him well in his Red Sox uniform, with his unique swing and home-run trot. A baseball hero and an American hero, the last player to hit over .400 in a season; here, Ted Williams is introduced to a new generation of baseball fans. (author's note, statistics, bibliography) (Picture book/ biography. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 11/12/2012 - 09:46
Small medium at large by Joanne LevyA lively preteen develops the "superpsychic" ability to converse with the dead, complicating her seventh-grade life in this lighthearted debut. When 12-year-old Lilah's struck by lightning at her mother's wedding, she wakes up hearing her deceased grandmother Dora talking to her. Lilah's afraid she's going crazy until Dora explains, "[w]hen the lightning hit you, it was like someone switched on a radio and I was tuned into your channel." Soon, Lilah's channeling lots of dead people like Serena, her music teacher's sweetheart; Priscilla, a famous fashion designer; and Marion, the cafeteria lunch lady for 49 years. Overwhelmed with advice and requests from talking ghosts who are simultaneously irritating and invasive, Lilah confesses her psychic power to her best friend, Alex, who thinks she should earn money doing readings. But when Lilah tries to give a message to her crush, Andrew, from his deceased father, things go terribly wrong. Gradually, Lilah learns how to convert her psychic pals into allies and channel her powers positively, turning a disastrous school fundraiser into a success, winning Andrew's trust and admiration, and helping her father find romance. In a fresh, frank and funny first-person voice, Lilah tells of her ghostly encounters from the perspective of a normal Jewish girl coping with abnormal powers. Droll middle school drama. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 10/22/2012 - 11:01
Speak another language series by Jill Kalz
Open the pages of these books and you'll soon be speaking another language! Colorful illustrations and simple labels make learning languages fun. From the basics to cool phrases, these books will give you lots to talk about! You can learn Russian, Italian, German, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and French.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 10/08/2012 - 10:37
Splendors and glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sorcery to a Victorian gothic thriller — an enthralling, darkly comic tale that would do Dickens proud.
The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall.
As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.
Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz’s Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 09/24/2012 - 10:09
In 2009, the last approved repair mission for the Hubble Telescope marked the beginning of the end for this remarkable astronomical tool. Scott covers this mission (also one of the last for another NASA achievement, the Space Shuttle) as well as the highlights of the Hubble-supported science and technology advancements of the past two decades. The book is filled with the amazingly clear, color-enhanced images of planets, stars, and nebulae that we've become accustomed to, but Scott also explains the less showy but significant science made possible by the Hubble's instruments: calculations of the age of the universe and evidence for dark energy and black holes. Scott carefully traces the history of ideas that led to each of these discoveries and includes profiles of prominent astronomers and sidebars filled with additional information and definitions. Though many questions have been answered by the Hubble data, Scott shows that many more questions remain for the ten years of functionality left in the Hubble telescope. danielle j. ford Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 09/17/2012 - 10:57
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods
The gripping story of a boy, a dog and a hurricane. Saint is a boy with confidence as big as his name is long. A budding musician, he earns money playing clarinet for the New Orleans tourists. His best friend is a stray dog named Shadow, and it's because of Shadow that Saint's still in town when Hurricane Katrina hits. Saint's not worried about the hurricane at first--he plans to live to be a hundred just to defy his palm-reader friend Jupi, who told him he had a short life line. But now the city has been ordered to evacuate and Saint won't leave without Shadow. His search brings him to his elderly neighbor's home and the three of them flee to her attic when the waters rise. But when Miz Moran's medication runs out, it's up to Saint to save her life--and his beloved Shadow's.
"Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is me," says the narrator, an almost-twelve-year-old African American boy living in New Orleans in 2005. This spare, moving novel covers five days before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. In a carefully crafted backstory, Woods deftly shows (never tells) readers about Saint's "before": his life in the tight-knit, historic community of Tremé; infatuation with a thirteen-year-old neighbor; success as a street musician; desire for an L1020 Step-Up Pro clarinet; and unfailing love for Shadow, a stray dog. As Katrina approaches, the Beach family makes contingency plans for evacuation. The packing, boarding up windows, checking on neighbors, and making and unmaking of plans as the situation changes (all done in heat that makes one feel like "being cooked inside an oven") capture perfectly the hurry-up-and-wait twin aggravations of disaster preparedness. Most poignant are Saint's mother's community responsibilities (through her hospital job) that conflict with her desire to stay with her family. In a believable moment of preteen impulse, Saint decides to ride out the hurricane with his elderly neighbor, Miz Moran, and Shadow. This tense "during" vividly portrays the force of the storm, and the authentic New Orleans setting works as a powerful character, adding an extra dimension to this compelling Katrina story. betty carter Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:19
Mammoths and mastodons: titans of the Ice Age by Cheryl Bardoe
Mammoths tend to get a lot of press, while their mastodon cousins accumulate footnotes, so it's nice to see mastodon getting second-banana billing in this attractive look at Ice Age favorites. Bardoe begins with the discovery of a marvelously preserved infant mammoth in Northern Siberia and goes on to discuss anatomy (comparing mastodon tusks and teeth, for example) and to postulate on probable Proboscidan behaviors based on fossil finds and extrapolation of modern elephant lifestyles. The readable text includes two fictional scenarios for fossils being found where they were (e.g., a young bull trapped in a steeper-than-expected water hole) and is nicely larded with interesting information boxes on such topics as "Treasures from the Permafrost." Excellent color photos and competent artwork lend visual interest, as does a Proboscidan "family tree" and a pair of maps (one of which, on Ice Age boundaries, may prove a tad confusing due to overlaps). Team this with Sandra Markle's dramatic Outside and Inside Woolly Mammoths (Walker, 2007) or Windsor Charlton's investigation of the Jarkov mammoth in Woolly Mammoth: Life, Death, and Rediscovery (Scholastic, 2001) for a grand view of an Ice Age icon. Eye-catching and informative.Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY