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Kid's Featured Items
- 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
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 08/13/2012 - 09:48
Penelope Crumb by Shawn K. Stout with art by Valeria Docampo
Penelope Crumb's large nose links her to her mysterious grandfather, who, it turns out, is not Graveyard Dead. When fourth-grade artist and would-be gumshoe Penelope Crumb realizes she has a large nose, everyone, especially her older brother Terrible (really Terrence), laughs it off. How can she not have known? Her mother states that it is Penelope's late father's nose, and the girl is pleased to be linked to him. But when her mother throws out a comparison to her Grandpa Felix's honker, Penelope is surprised that her grandfather is not dead. He just has not been part of the family since Penelope's father got sick. This casual comment, and a class assignment about family stories, sends the youngest Crumb on a quest to find this mysterious Grandpa Felix. Told in a fresh, amusing first-person voice, Penelope is part adventurer (she and her best friend skip school, take trains and knock on strangers' doors in their search), part private investigator and part therapist as she tries to piece together the missing parts of her family's story. Her mother, a medical illustrator, is mostly in the background, studying and drawing and getting over her husband's death, but she succumbs to Penelope's powers by the end. Fans of Clementine and Ramona will cheer as new friend Penelope finds what she is looking for. (Fiction. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 08/06/2012 - 10:47
Wumbers : it's a word cr8ed with a number! wri10 by Amy Krouse Rosenthal ; illustr8ed by Tom Lichtenheld.
For the unversed, a "wumber" is a word crea8ted using numbers. (Obviously!) Inspired by the master of wordplay himself, William Steig (C D B!, 1968, and C D C?, 1984), Rosenthal and Lichtenheld's carefully crafted wumbers certainly hold their own. The scope, ranging from simple and fun ("Would you like some honey 2 swee10 your tea?") to more difficult vocabulary ("4give me, 4 this is bel8ed, but it seems once again I have overinfla8ed") covers a wide range of readers. A true testament to phonological awareness--the ability to hear the smaller sounds that make up words--if ever there was one, the wumbers also encourage kids to slow down and think. If mumbling repeatedly out loud does not yield the answer right away, Lichtenheld's bright pen-and-pastel illustrations will help readers spell it out. In this day and age of text-message shorthand, some linguists may declare this book a disaster (Steig never had to contend with such moral panic), but fear not; the clever wumbers are more likely to intrigue and stimulate, not destroy a child's ability to spell. Let's just hope there are no h8trs. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 07/30/2012 - 09:28
Breathing room by Marsha Hayles
Confined to a tuberculosis sanatorium in rural Minnesota, 13 year-old Evelyn Hoffmeister develops inner strength as she copes with loneliness, loss and the insidious disease that threatens her life. In May 1940, Evvy's father leaves her at Loon Lake Sanatorium, where she's assigned to a ward with other teenage tuberculosis patients. Isolated from her family, Evvy quickly learns to follow Loon Lake's strict regimen of bed rest, diet and treatment, with no talking or visitors. Frightened and overwhelmed, Evvy gradually adapts to the sterile routine and discovers her fellow patients: talkative, fashionable Pearl; kindhearted Beverly; gruff Dena; and shy Sarah, a Jewish girl who becomes her best friend. As time slowly passes, Evvy realizes some patients improve and leave, while others die, sometimes unexpectedly. Speaking first as an observer and later as an engaged participant and survivor, Evvy tells the story of her year at Loon Lake. By describing her feelings, fears and tentative hope, she offers an inside peek at the lives of tuberculosis patients in the pre–World War II era, when there was no real cure for the disease. Period photographs of equipment, posters, medical treatments and hospital facilities relating to tuberculosis add verisimilitude. A quiet, sober story of a genuine heroine who survives a devastating disease with grace. (photographs; author's note; notes on photographs) (Historical fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 07/23/2012 - 10:03
Here's a fun and true story to start out the baseball season. Vernick relates the history of the Acerra family's 16 children, consisting of 12 boys who formed their own semiprofessional baseball team in Long Branch, NJ, during the 1930s. Their dad was their coach and biggest fan. The team is honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame for being the all-time longest-playing all-brother team in baseball history. The author exhibits good humor by pointing out individual boys' distinguishing characteristics such as Charlie, the slow runner who "hit a ball nearly out of the park, but only made it to second." There is a retro feel to Salerno's illustrations done in black crayon, gouache, watercolor, and pastel, with digital color added. Shades of green, blue, and turquoise augment the outdoor scenes. Readers will laugh out loud as they spot one brother out the bedroom window at night running with toilet paper in hand to their three-seater outhouse. This story sends out positive vibes of a family who sticks together, yet couples the tale with sorrowful times as well. A delight not to miss.Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 07/02/2012 - 09:54
Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop
Red Knit Cap Girl is a little girl with a big dream -- to meet the Moon.
Red Knit Cap Girl lives with her animal friends in an enchanted forest. There is so much to see and do, but more than anything Red Knit Cap Girl wishes she could talk to the Moon. Join Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends on a journey of curiosity, imagination, and joy as they search for a way to meet the Moon.
Gorgeously illustrated on wood grain, Red Knit Cap Girl's curiosity, imagination, and joy will captivate the hearts of readers young and old as her journey offers a gentle reminder to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us.
Red Knit Cap Girl wants to talk to the moon, even throwing a party for her, but only when the lights go out and quiet falls does it appear.The big-booted, mushroom-headed girl's bulbous silhouette, mute, mouth-less face and dotted eyes feel familiar, even though her proportions look downright strange. A crimson hat and smart jacket pop against shadowed woodlands, friendly and bright. Animal buddies (Rabbit, Bear, Squirrel and Hedgehog) help with her moon-chat mission, their kind beady eyes shining and stubby bodies playful. When Red Knit Cap Girl approaches a mystic night owl who might know how to draw the moon into a conversation, readers will bristle with interest. The owl, his eyes like embers, says enigmatically, "You will find a way." A plywood canvas creates a fantastically pliant, otherworldly atmosphere that undulates with shifting perspectives, horizons, dimensions—even surfaces. Once painted, the wood's grain assumes the look of clouds, sand, water, grass, mist, creating a bewitching forest that feels at times magical and others spooky. Nocturnal hues (dusky yellows and reds, darkening greens and ultimately a blackening blue) transport readers to nightfall and the moon's imminent arrival. Young readers might pleasantly puzzle over the moon's need for dark and silence, for peace, in order to show herself and whisper with Red Knit Cap Girl. A gentle Zen-like parable, with visual and narrative intrigue. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.