Monday, May 21, 2018

The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes

The Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes 
By Ying Chang Compestine
Illustrated by David Roberts
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017. Picture Book.

This is a fractured fairytale of the classic “Emperor’s New Clothes.” When Ming Da became the Emperor at a young age (9!) he had a lot of advisors. They didn’t really care about China, instead they wanted to take advantage of the fact that the Emperor didn’t know how to run the country and they could do what they wanted. That meant they stole silks, rice, gold, and precious stones from the Emperor. It also meant that the people were poor and hungry. In order to oust the dishonest advisors, the Emperor hatched a plan with the help of his two tailors to trick the evil advisors. And thus the fractured fairytale explains why it was that the Emperor wore such silly rice sacks for a grand parade. This twist on the classic tale is clever. Readers will enjoy how the Emperor tricks the dishonest advisors in order to save his people and his empire.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Wizards Cookbook

Image result for the wizards cookbook

The Wizards Cookbook
By Aurelia Beaupommier
Skyhorse Publishing, 2016. Informational.

"When witches and wizards aren't busy casting spells, saving the world, or plotting sinister schemes, what do they like to eat? It sparked an investigation..." This question is what inspired the author to research books, movies, television shows, and plays to find sorcerers and create food based on those characters. You'll find some familiar favorites from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Wizard of Oz and others you might not have thought of such as World of Warcraft, Legend of Zelda and Doctor Strange.
This is a fun compilation for fantasy nerds everywhere. Definitely check it out for that upcoming Bilbo Baggins Birthday Party you have every September.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Stone Girl's Story

The Stone Girl's Story
By Sarah Beth Durst
Clarion Books, 2018. Fiction, 326 p.

Mayka is not an ordinary 11-year old girl. She has lived her entire life on the mountain with her family, which mostly consists of animals. They live in peace on the mountain. Mayka and the rest of her family are made from stone and their markings are starting to fade. The markings in their stone are the reason they are alive. Turtle, the oldest of them all, has already become still. When Father was alive he kept the markings from fading, but now Father has passed away. Mayka decides it is time to take a journey to the city, Skye, down far below in the valley. She has never traveled beyond the mountain. Two flying stone birds, Jaklo and Risa insist on following her to keep her safe.

Mayka and her friends find the city and a master stone mason to carve the marks that are fading, but things don't go as smoothly as she had planned. Will she and the birds make it back to their family on the mountain? Will Mayka help the imprisoned stone creatures she finds in the city escape? Find out as you go on this exciting adventure with these brave stone beings!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Snow & Rose

Snow & Rose
by Emily Windfield Martin
Random House, 2017. Fiction. 204 p
One day Snow and Rose's father, traveling on business, goes into the forest and never returns.  Rose, Snow and their mother are forced to leave their home and move to a small cottage in a poor village. Snow and Rose adapt to their new life as peasants, but soon realize that there is something strange going on in the forest around their village.  People keep disappearing like their father had, and unnatural animals terrorize their neighbors. As they search for information about their father's fate they come face to face with an ancient evil.

This is a charming retelling of a lesser known fairy tale. Martin starts out more or less realistic, and then gradually moves into the fantastic in a way that gently pulls the reader along. It is available in print, on CD and on Overdrive. The recording is very good, with occasional sound effects and a skilled reader so if you are doing a road trip this summer with kids of a variety of ages, this would be a good one to listen to in the car.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley

The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley
By April Stevens
Schwartz & Wade, 2018. J Fiction. 208p.

Eleven-year-old Frances, who secretly calls herself Figgrotten, is much more comfortable by herself than around other people. She spends most of her time in her “rock world” behind her home, observing the local crows, reading through an old set of encyclopedias, and enjoying the cold weather. Disconnected from her classmates and purposefully avoiding her older sister, Christinia, who is constantly embarrassed by Figgrotten’s habits and appearance, her only true friend is Alvin, the elderly and gentle bus driver.

But when Alvin becomes ill, Figgrotten has to decide whether she is going to let other people in and embrace the imperfect connections that other humans offer. For such a quick read, this title packs a ton in the way of memorable characters, heartfelt emotion, and quirky philosophical musings. Original and moving, this is a story about how to remain true to ourselves while building relationships with the people around us.

Monday, May 14, 2018


By Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by Dan Santat
Roaring Brook Press, 2018. Picture Book

The first thing about this book that I will tell you is that I totally laughed at the author and illustrator blurbs (and illustrations). The second thing I will tell you is that if I enjoyed the book enough to read the author and illustrator blurbs, then I really must have enjoyed the book. This book has a total of three words (and two of them are “dude” and “dudes”). A beaver and a platypus are excited to go surfing. Then while surfing they see a shark. Of course things are not always what they seem—point in fact the shark doesn’t want to eat the duo. This book is hilarious (seriously, if the author and illustrator blurbs are humorous, then this book is heavy on the comedic timing). And with such a few amount of words, it means that kiddos will need to take a lot of cues from the illustrations to discover the narrative (which is a good skill for them to learn). Who knew that learning could be quite so funny? This is seriously a good book that every “dude” should read.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Chirri & Chirra

Written and Illustrated by Kaya Doi
Translated from Japanese by Yuki Kaneko

Spring is here! To celebrate, I picked up Chirri & Chirra and joined the twin sisters on their dreamy
bicycle ride through the forest. They visit a cafe, bakery, hotel, and attend a concert with their animal
friends. This is how I played and imagined as a young girl. I would have loved this simple story and
its richly detailed and softly rendered illustrations.

There are two other Chirri & Chirra picture books in our library, each as serene and lovely as
this one. Check them out!

Display: Butterfly Craze

Ten Magic Butterflies
By: Danica McKellar
Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018. Picture Book

One by one, ten flowers ask a fairy to turn them into butterflies for a night of magical flying, demonstrating to readers the different ways to group numbers to create ten.

Butterflies and Moths
By: John feltwell
New York : DK Publishing, 2018. Informational

Information, fun activities and project ideas are provided for young nature explorers.

By: Seymour Simon
Collins 2011. Informational

Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon invites readers to explore the world of butterflies and moths with fascinating facts and stunning full-color photographs. Learn where to find butterflies and moths, how to observe them in nature, and how to plant your very own butterfly garden.

By: Nic Bishop
Scholastic, 2011. Informational

Describes the life cycle of butterflies, from a tiny egg into a caterpillar, to a metamorphosizing pupa, and finally into a beautiful winged butterfly.

Butterflies: exploring the life cycle 
By: Shirley Raines
Franklin, TN : Flowerpot press, 2017. Informational

Explore the wonderful world of butterflies such as Monarchs, Tiger Swallows, and more! Amazing facts accompany lyrical poetry and vivid photography to encourage children to engage in a multi-disciplined learning experience. Featuring extension activities in the back pages, this book provides content for STEAM learning while offering both textual and visual appeal.

Origami birds and butterflies
By: Lisa Miles
Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2014. Informational

An overview to common folds and origami techniques used to create swans, doves, and butterflies out of colored paper.

How to draw butterflies and other insects
By: Peter Gray
PowerKids Press, 2014. Informational

How to draw butterflies and other insects.

By: Marilyn Singer
EarlyLight, 2011. Informational

Introduces the different types of caterpillars and how they move, eat, protect themselves from predators, and transform into a butterfly or moth.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Roar: A Dinosaur Tale

Roar: A Dinosaur Tale
By Michael Paul
Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018. Picture Book.

Explore 18 different types of dinosaurs in this colorful illustrated informational book. Learn which ones were fast, which ones were small, who lived alone, and how different dinosaurs protected themselves. With simplistic text and illustrations, this is a perfect book to introduce your little one to dinosaurs.

Saving Marty

Saving Marty
by Paul Griffin
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017. Fiction. 195 p.
When Lorenzo befriends a runt pig it soon becomes his constant companion.  Marty is as loyal and smart as any dog, but pigs have a way of growing, and when Marty gets to be 250 lbs, his affectionate nudges become hazardous. There are other complications in Lorenzo's life as well.  He is trying to find out what really happened to his Dad who never came back from Afghanistan, and he is struggling through a summer without his best friend, Paloma Lee. With everything else going on, Lorenzo desperately wants to save Marty from the butcher block, but at what cost?

This is a charming novel, reminiscent of White's Charlotte's Web and King-Smith's Babe: The Gallant Pig. Griffin does a good job showing Lorenzo as a boy desperately in need of a friend, but also portraying his mother's concerns for finances and safety with a sympathetic hand. Lorenzo's and Paloma's friendship is also very sweet. The audio book has some nice music included (Paloma is a singer who longs for Nashville fame). This is a feel-good book with a some heart-ache mixed in--great for a reader who is craving something a little sentimental.