Thursday, August 17, 2017

Monster & Son

Monster & Son
By David Larochelle
Illustrated by Joey Chou
Chronicle Books, 2016. Picture Book.

If you have ever wanted an answer to the age-old question - "do monsters love their children too?" - look no further than this picture book. The colorful illustrations show a fun-filled day enjoyed by various monsters and their children (Frankenstein, King Kong, Bigfoot, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc.) doing the sorts of activities that monsters enjoy (destruction, mayhem, alien abductions, etc.) The sweet text of this book reads like a bedtime story as the parent monster recounts all the fun activities of the day, but when the activities of the monsters are anything but sweet, the book ends up being silly, funny, and fun.

Joey Chou's illustrations are on-point - at once adorable and mischevious - and set the tone for this fun book about love between a parent and their child.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Great Treehouse War

The Great Treehouse War
by Lisa Graff
Philomel Books, 2017, Fiction. 272 p.
Winnie's parents get a divorce and then compete for Winnie's attention and approval.  Each parent tries to outdo the other by celebrating obscure holidays.  Winnie is so busy celebrating national "eraser" day or "hug your cat" day that she can't do her homework and is at risk of failing fifth grade.  Her parents allow her to spend one night a week in a treehouse that stands between their two properties. Winnie finally decides to hide out in the treehouse until her parents agree to come together and listen to her demands for a more sensible lifestyle.  Soon she is joined by her friends who have their own issues with parents.

This is a funny story about a spunky and clever girl with difficult family problems. The story is silly--the writing style is similar to Sachar's Wayside School series--but it has a serious side as well. Although most kids can't run away and live in a treehouse until their parents see reason, they can learn from Winnie's example of watching and thinking carefully about the people around her to find solutions to her problems.(272 p.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Forever, or a Long, Long Time

Forever, or a Long, Long Time
By Caela Carter
HarperCollins, 2017. Juvenile fiction. 320p.

Flora and Julian have lived in so many foster homes that they can’t remember where they came from. They don’t believe they were born like other children and come up with theories about what might have created them. Even now that they have been adopted by a loving couple, they struggle to put their trauma behind them and really trust in forever. So they set out with their new mother on a journey to discover their past.

This is an honest, heart-wrenching, compassionate book about the foster care system, trauma, hope, and family. The author’s excellent understanding of psychological and emotional processes and setbacks really add depth and truth to this story. Readers will yearn for Flora to let self-knowledge, love, and trust to sink into her heart and will rejoice at each small triumph.

Monday, August 14, 2017


By Antoinette Portis
A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, 2017. Picture Book

A young girl tells about her favorite things—which all happen to be things that are part of the “now” moment. “This is my favorite hole (this one) because it’s the one I am digging.” The things are simple—from a favorite “gulp” of a drink of juice to a favorite “worm” that she is holding. All of the favorites happen to be associated with that exact moment. The illustrations are full of bold, black outlines and bright colors interspersed with a bit of texture. The simplicity of the text paired with the generous amounts of white-space almost invite readers to think of what their “favorites” in the “now” time would be. Simply beautiful. Another well-done picture book by Antoinette Portis! Seriously. You should all go put a copy on hold at the library. This will be your favorite book to read right “now” to any and all little ones.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Chicken Doesn't Skate

The Chicken Doesn't Skate
By Gordon Korman
Scholastic Press, 1996. Fiction. 197 p.
Milo decides to do his sixth grade science fair project on “The Complete Life Cycle of a Link in the Food Chain” which involves following a baby chick from birth to frying pan. But when Milo brings his specimen, a baby chick, to class, everyone falls in love with it and makes Henrietta the class pet. Through zany situations (which Korman is really good at writing) Henrietta becomes involved in so many students' lives and even becomes the mascot for the school’s hockey team. 
It’s probably because I am missing hockey (Is it October yet?) but when I saw that Korman, one of my favorite Children’s/Teen author had a written a hockey story I couldn’t resist posting about it even though the story was written in the '90s. Even with the passage of time, the humor still plays out well and will have the reader laughing and gasping “oh no!” with the antics of the class as they try to save Henrietta. Told from the viewpoints of multiple class members this book, makes for a great listen with multiple narrators, so check out the audio version, which we have available through RBdigital.

The New Kid at School

The New Kid at School
By Kate McMullan
Grosset & Dunlap, 1997. Intermediate. 91 p.
After hearing many a dragon tales from a passing minstrel who foretold him that one day he will be mighty hero, Wiglaf decides to join Dragon Slayer’s Academy with his trusty pig- Latin-speaking pig Daisy. But the academy is nothing like he expected and he is not quite sure he can kill a dragon.
This is a great read aloud for the family; parents will enjoy the inside jokes throughout this spoof of brave knights and fierce dragons. The comical situations will have the beginner reader wanting the next in the series.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fruits in Suits

By Jared Chapman
Abrams Appleseed, 2017.  Picture Book.

If you and your littles loved Vegetables in Underpants, then brace yourselves:  Fruits in Suits has arrived!  The produce is back (in fruit form this time) in all their smiley-faced glory, ready to evoke giggles galore.  Mr. Grapefruit didn't seem to get the memo because, while he's dressed in a lovely business suit, the order of the day is a little fun in the sun...which requires a totally different kind of suit.  A swimsuit!  Chapman has paired his simple text with bright and clever digital illustrations, creating a delightful read aloud experience.  A fun (and fruity) end of summer read!

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices
By Sally Derby
Illustrated by Mika Song
Charlesbridge, 2017. Picture Book.

Starting school involves a lot of different emotions. It can be exciting and scary all at the same time. Derby uses six different children's voices, Kindergarten through 6th grade, to describe the feelings the day before school starts, the first day of school, and after school. The children come from different family styles, sizes, and cultures. Each child has their own set of things they are nervous about and it is interesting to see how their fears are subsided. It would be an excellent book to share with a child before they start school to show how everyone gets a little nervous about different things.

Friday, August 11, 2017


Garcia Iglesias y Guridi
Lata de Sal Editorial, 2015.
Libro ilustrado.

Moustache es un gato elegante con bigotes guapos. Él le gusta mostrar su bigotes todos los dias. También tiene curiosidad por todo. Un dia, se acerca demasiado al fuego y el fuego destruye los bigotes de Moustache! Él trata de comprar un bigote falso pero se ve terrible! Moustache está tan triste. Pero, un chico amistoso tiene una idea buena.

Niños disfrutarán Moustache y la ilustrados tonta de Guridi.

Moustache the cat has beautiful, elegant whiskers. He likes to show them off to all the other cats. Unfortunately, he is also very curious. One day he is very interested in a candle and burns his whiskers off! Now everyone mocks him. He tries to go to a mustache store where he can buy a mustache, but it looks terrible. But a kind little boy offers to help Moustache with his embarrassing problem.

Children will love the silly Moustache and Guridi's silly illustrations.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

You May Already Be a Winner

You May Already Be a Winner
By Ann Dee Ellis
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017. Fiction.

Olivia is twelve-years-old and she is obsessed with entering contests. She makes sure that she enters a few every day - for things like free boxes of kool-aid, family trips to Orlando, lotteries for millions of dollars - anything she can find. Olivia loves the thing that these contests say before you enter - "you may already be a winner." Because Olivia doesn't feel like a winner. She is supposed to be in sixth grade, but she hasn't been to school in months because her mom needs her to stay home with her sister. Her dad left for a while because he needed a break, but he still hasn't come back. Her mom used to be a good mom, but now she's tired from going to work. When Bart, a strange and secretive boy, comes wandering past her trailer park she thinks he may be the luck she's looking for.

There are a lot of things that I love about this book. Olivia is kind and bright and maintains her spirit in the face of her really difficult life. When she finally starts to crack, it feels believable and my heart can't help but reach out to her. Her supporting cast of characters are an interesting, warm, and lively group. That this book is written by a local author is already exciting, but that it is actually set in Provo is even more exciting. I had a lot of fun picking out places I know and visit - like the library. At times, this book is very, very sad. Olivia's life is unbelievably difficult and her story can be heartbreaking. That being said, this is a perfect choice for readers looking to understand what life is like for other kids - even those who live nearby.