Monday, November 27, 2017

CYBILS SENIOR HIGH NONFICTION: How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana


ABOUT THE BOOK

This profoundly moving memoir is the remarkable and inspiring true story of Sandra Uwiringyimana, a girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who tells the tale of how she survived a massacre, immigrated to America, and overcame her trauma through art and activism.

Sandra was just ten years old when she found herself with a gun pointed at her head. She had watched as rebels gunned down her mother and six-year-old sister in a refugee camp. Remarkably, the rebel didn’t pull the trigger, and Sandra escaped.

Thus began a new life for her and her surviving family members. With no home and no money, they struggled to stay alive. Eventually, through a United Nations refugee program, they moved to America, only to face yet another ethnic disconnect. Sandra may have crossed an ocean, but there was now a much wider divide she had to overcome. And it started with middle school in New York.

In this memoir, Sandra tells the story of her survival, of finding her place in a new country, of her hope for the future, and how she found a way to give voice to her people.


REVIEW

I found this book both heart-wrenching and inspiring.  Sandra's story is an important one.  Unfortunately, there are far too many others who could tell similar stories of life as a refugee.  I was fascinated as Sandra starts by introducing the event that changed her life forever, the massacre at Gatumba Refugee Camp.  Then she shares what her life was like leading up to that pivotal event.  I enjoyed this part of the book as I read about a culture and way of life very different from my own.  When she returns to the shocking events that occurred when she was ten, that cost her her beloved little sister and left her suffering from delayed PTSD (it all comes back to haunt her in her late teens).  That part was hard to read.  It's hard to comprehend what leads people to do such evil things as massacre the innocent just because they are from a different culture/tradition.

The story of how Sandra and her family came to the United States, found a way to cope with the culture shock while simultaneously living with the difficulties caused by the massacre is a powerful one.  At least I found it so.  Life as a refugee is difficult, no matter the circumstances.  But adjusting to a new country, a new language, and a new culture is hard enough without the challenges of dealing with trauma on top of that.  Sandra's family's difficulties weren't over.  As she struggles to adjust to school, she runs into numerous challenges, but she finds a way to carry on.  But she never forgets her people and what happened to them.  She gets involved in telling not only her own story but the story of her people.  She has what I would call some rather remarkable experiences. 

All in all, I found this a remarkable story that reminds me of the importance of people telling their own stories and that the only way to overcome the prejudices that continue to plague society is to tell those stories and listen to the stories of others.

Friday, November 24, 2017

CYBILS SENIOR HIGH NONFICTION: Survivors Club by Michael Bornstein & Debbie Bornstein Holinstat


ABOUT THE BOOK

In 1945, in a now-famous piece of archival footage, four-year-old Michael Bornstein was filmed by Soviet soldiers as he was carried out of Auschwitz in his grandmother’s arms. Survivors Club tells the unforgettable story of how a father’s courageous wit, a mother’s fierce love, and one perfectly timed illness saved Michael’s life, and how others in his family from Zarki, Poland, dodged death at the hands of the Nazis time and again with incredible deftness. Working from his own recollections as well as extensive interviews with relatives and survivors who knew the family, Michael relates his inspirational story with the help of his daughter, Debbie Bornstein Holinstat. Shocking, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, this narrative nonfiction offers an indelible depiction of what happened to one Polish village in the wake of the German invasion in 1939.

REVIEW

This is a remarkable book.  Michael Bornstein and his daughter have clearly worked hard to tell the story of Michael's (and his extended family) experiences during the Holocaust.  While Michael himself was just a child when he ended up in Auschwitz and still a child when he was liberated, he's used the memories of numerous family members and friends as well as records and photographs from several Holocaust museums to round out the story.  And while as the author says, "the underlying events are entirely factual, there is some fiction here: conversations had to be imagined, thoughts and feelings projected, certain names changed and some minor details adjusted to put this into narrative form"; the underlying truth of the story is incredibly touching and powerful.

Reading about the courage of Michael's father, the horrible actions of the Nazi's, and the difficult circumstances that Michael's family and neighbors faced truly left me both horrified and in awe.  After the Germans invaded and the Jews were forced into unpaid labor and strict curfews, Michael's father, Isaac was made the head of the Judenrat--a group of Jewish men called to put the German's plans into effect.  And while Isaac hated this position, he used it to help his people as much as possible.  The way Isaac and his fellow Jews gathered money from those under their care and used it to bribe the Germans allowed numerous lives to be saved.  And even when Isaac had the chance to flee and save himself and his family, he stayed.  And when the camps could no longer be avoided, Michael and family, continued to hope that somehow they might survive it all.  And while not all of them did, a surprising number of Michael's family members did survive to carry on after the war.

This book beautifully demonstrates both the horrible things that people are capable of but also the resilience of the human soul.

 

Monday, November 20, 2017

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK SERIES: King & Kayla by Dori Hillestad Butler


ABOUT THE BOOK

Kayla made peanut butter treats for Jillian's new puppy, Thor. But now the treats are missing. 

What does Kayla know? There are three treats missing. King was in the kitchen. King's breath doesn't smell like peanut butter. 


What does King know? There's an intruder in the house. 


How will they solve the mystery?


REVIEW

I'm always on the lookout for fun early chapter books.  These books need to be fast moving with short, easy to read sentences for children just learning to read.  But the stories and illustrations are important as well.  In this first of a new series, King wants to eat the peanut butter treats that Kayla has made.  And when some of the treats go missing, King is blamed at first.  At least until Kayla goes through and lists what they know, which includes the fact that King's breath proves he didn't do it.  King, with his powerful nose, realizes something that Kayla does not: THERE'S AN INTRUDER IN THE HOUSE!  Together, Kayla and King must solve the mystery in order to enjoy the rest of the treats. A fabulous, funny new mystery series perfect for young readers. 


ABOUT THE BOOK
 
Kayla and Mason both got mysterious letters, written in code. 

What does Kayla know? The same person left both letters. It's someone she and Mason both know. 


The two letters are the same, except for the second word. 

What does King know? Jillian left the letters. What do the letters say?


REVIEW

In this delightful early chapter book, King and his person, Kayla, must solve the puzzle of a coded message left on their porch.  But King, the dog, has a clue that Kayla does not, he knows, thanks to his talented nose, who dropped it off.  But Kayla and her friend, Mason are puzzled.  It's up to King to find the clues necessary to figure out the mystery.  The short text and cute illustrations make this a great series for readers who are ready to move up to short chapter books. 


ABOUT THE BOOK

A lovable dog helps his human girl solve a mystery. King and Kayla are playing fetch with their friends, Jillian and Thor. Jillian throws Kings favorite ball too hard, and now its gone missing! King and Kayla must put together the clues to figure out where it went and who has it.

REVIEW

In this third book in the series, King's ball goes missing and he is frantic to get it back.  It's just right for fetching after all.  After Kayla lists all the clues she has, King uses his additional information from a neighborhood cat to try to find his ball.  He's determined to succeed, even if it means leaping into the neighbor's yard.  This is a fun addition to the series with an amusing twist at the end.

NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS: Bertha Takes a Drive/Nina/Up! Up! Up! Skyscraper


ABOUT THE BOOK

It's 1888 and Bertha Benz's husband, Karl, has invented the prototype Benz motorwagen. But the German government declares the vehicle illegal, and the church calls it the devil's work. Unbeknownst to her husband, Bertha steals away with her two sons and drives nearly one hundred miles to prove just how amazing the motorwagen is. Bertha's mechanical savvy gets the boys to Grandma's house safely, and the remarkable mother/son road trip reduces global concern about moving vehicles.

REVIEW

I'm a big fan of books that highlight the actions of brave, clever women.  Jan Adkins has done an admirable job of telling one story from the life of one such women.  I had to laugh at the determination of this woman, Bertha Benz, to prove to both the church and Emperor Wilhelm II that her husband's invention, the Benz motorwagen, has the potential to change lives for the better and isn't the threat they think it is.  She sneaks out with her two teenage sons and makes her way across bumpy, rough terrain 60 miles to her mother's house.  Naturally, the car broke down several times, but thanks to Bertha's ingenuity and knowledge of her husband's invention, the car was repaired and the trip continued.  

The inclusion of drawings of the motorwagen, including one of the engine were a great touch.  The timeline of significant events in automobile history was great as well.  I especially appreciated the author's note at the end where she explained the difficulty in getting the story right since not all the details of the time and place and conversations are known.  It's always reassuring to know however that the author does everything in her power to get it right.  A fascinating slice of history.

Ages 9-12

ABOUT THE BOOK

A stunning picture-book biography of the High Priestess of Soul and one of the greatest voices of the 20th century.

With evocative black-and-white illustrations and moving prose, readers are introduced to Nina Simone, jazz-music legend and civil-rights activist. Shared as a lullaby to her daughter, a soulful song recounts Simone's career, the trials she faced as an African American woman, and the stand she took during the Civil Rights Movement. This poignant picture book offers a melodic tale that is both a historic account of an iconic figure and an extraordinary look at how far we've come and how far we still need to go for social justice and equality. A timeless and timely message aptly appropriate for today's social and political climates.

REVIEW

This is a book filled with symbolism and imagery.  While that makes for a beautiful book, it also makes it confusing for younger readers, which is why I would recommend this book for older children.  It would even make a great addition to units on the Civil Rights movement, that continues today.  The book starts with Nina, a mother, singing a lullaby to her own child, and telling the story (very briefly) of some of her early experiences with music and racism.  The comparison of black and white lives to the keys on the keyboard (whites are whole and more numerous, blacks are 'half' and limited in number) is brilliant and thought-provoking, especially when the illustration on the next page shows whites and blacks sitting and standing in order like a piano keyboard.  The lyrical language makes references to taking wing and flying  which the illustrations also show as well as flying dandelions symbolizing Nina's and other civil rights activists dreams for a better life.  While additional information about Nina and her life and work would have been appreciated, the book makes for a powerful introduction to the issues involved in the civil rights movement as well as the experiences of one young girl.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Snappy rhymes invite young readers to watch workers dig, pour, pound, and bolt a skyscraper into existence. Simple yet satis-fying sidebars provide further information about each step in the construction process. Perfect for preschoolers and all those who dig diggers.

Quirky, colorful art enhance the appeal of a construction site with all the equipment and sounds of building.

REVIEW

This is a great book for young building enthusiasts.  Not only is there great information about the building of a skyscraper (I learned a lot!), but the combination of rhyming text and expository text make the book appropriate for young listeners and older readers.  In fact, I quite enjoyed reading the rhymes out loud, to me that's the best gauge for judging rhymes. I also loved the illustrations which do an excellent job of showing the steps in the construction process.  The illustrator also included labels for the different materials and equipment used in the building process. This is a fabulously put together book.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

SERIES THURSDAY: The Adventures of Henry Whiskers/Long Way Home by Gigi Priebe


ABOUT THE BOOK

Henry Whiskers must face his fears and rescue his little sister from the scary Rat Alley in this fun, fast-paced debut chapter book set in Queen Mary’s historical dollhouse at Windsor Castle.

Twenty-five generations of Whiskers have lived in Windsor Castle’s most famous exhibit: Queen Mary’s Dollhouse. For young, book-loving Henry Whiskers and his family, this is the perfect place to call home.

But when the dollhouse undergoes unexpected repairs and Henry’s youngest sister, Isabel, goes missing, he risks everything in a whisker-whipping race against time to save her. His rescue mission will take him to the murky and scary world of Rat Alley, and Henry will have to dig deep and find the courage he never knew he had in order to bring his sister back home.
 


REVIEW

Henry is not a particularly adventurous mouse.  He prefers to sit in the Queen Mary's historical dollhouse and read books from the library.  After all, since his father's death it's been his job as the oldest Whisker child to help his mother take care of the dollhouse.  But when his sister Isabel goes missing and Henry is the only one to know where she might be, he has to step out of his comfort zone and go find her, even if it means facing Titus, the cat, or the rats.  I enjoyed this for the most part but I didn't fall in love with it.  I guess I just didn't find it extremely compelling.  But it is a cute story and I absolutely fell in love with the dollhouse.  Sigh.  I mean, a dollhouse with real books, cars that run, and real kitchen appliances.  How awesome is that.  I'd recommend this series for those readers who love animals stories but aren't yet ready for Warriors by Erin Hunter or Redwall by Brian Jacques.


ABOUT THE BOOK
 
Henry Whiskers and his cousin, Jeremy, must find their way back home—Queen Mary’s dollhouse—and to Windsor Castle with the help of a mysterious treasure map in this fun, fast-paced follow up to The Adventures of Henry Whiskers.

Little Henry Whiskers is thrilled when he discovers an old, crinkly map, complete with a giant X marking a spot, full of treasure—at least, that’s what Henry thinks. All he knows is that this map is something BIG—he can feel it right down to the tip of his tail.

But before he can share his exciting find with his cousin and best friend, Jeremy, they find themselves in the danger zone: The Windsor Castle Kitchen. And after being unceremoniously caught and thrown out of the castle, with nothing but the map, the two little mice realize they have bigger problems than being caught in the kitchen! How will they get back to the dollhouse?

With the help of his cousin, Jeremy and a fellow field mouse named Wisely, the cousins battle a hungry falcon, an endless and stormy lake, and the maze of landmarks on the Windsor Castle Grounds as they try to find his way back home—and discover the mysterious map is more connected to the Whiskers family than either of them could have ever imagined.


REVIEW 

In this cute follow-up to The Adventures of Henry WhiskersHenry and his cousin Jeremy get carried away from Windsor Castle and dumped outside.  Henry and Jeremy have to find a way to survive and make their way home.  And just what does the map that Henry found just before disaster struck mean?  This book is a nice read, but nothing that really jumped out at me.  Maybe it was the unrealistic behavior of some of the animals that bothered me, beyond the walking, talking mice that is.  A cat's claws don't click on the floor because they remain sheathed except when in use.  Hawks don't dump prey in an empty nest.  These things aren't likely to bother young readers though, who will be focused on Henry and Jeremy's risky attempts to find their way home, and be curious about the mysterious map and just what it might lead the mice to find.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

CYBILS SENIOR HIGH NONFICTION NOMINEE: Unfiltered by Lily Collins


ABOUT THE BOOK

In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and the upcoming Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating, and so much more.

For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She's learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.


REVIEW

I don't read a ton of memoirs, not because I don't like them, but because I'm choosy in who I want to read about.  Not all the subjects of such books are worth reading about.  But I thoroughly enjoyed Lily Collins memoir.  The book is written as a series of essays which makes it easy to follow with plenty of nice stopping places.  Each chapter focuses on one aspect of her life that Collins wants readers to know and understand.  It's so easy to think that people who are famous don't have any problems, at least not the kind that 'ordinary' people have.  This memoir proves that that is not the case.

In a very open, honest, and engaging style Collins talks about her experiences growing up.  Traveling with her mother, struggles with perfectionism and eating disorders, and abusive relationships all play a part in her early years.  Thoughts about her own mistakes as well as struggles in relating to boyfriends and even her father are openly discussed.  I found her openness refreshing.  It was also interesting to read about her early endeavors as a teen in publishing, acting, and modeling.  But I think the parts that touched me the most were the discussions about the mistakes she made as she sank deeply in anorexia and bulimia.  She honestly admits that it's a struggle that continues to play a role in her life.

Collins' opinions about tattoos and the importance of developing a voice in order to stand up for yourself were also delightful and thoughtful.  The black and white photographs added a nice touch as they showed Collins at various times in her life as well as other important things in her life.  I found it especially intriguing to read about how she has come to terms with her struggles and overcome some of them.  The book is both entertaining and inspiring.

The only issue I had with the book was a bit of swearing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

EARLY READER SERIES: Pig in a Wig by Emma J. Virjan

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ABOUT THE BOOK

What this story needs is a pig in a wig, on a boat in a moat with a frog, a dog, and a goat on a log. . . .

As a panda in a blouse, a skunk on a trunk, and more hop on board, it becomes clear that what this story really needs is a bigger boat! Join Pig on an exciting boat ride as she discovers that life is more fun with friends in this fantastic funny read-aloud with cumulative text from author-illustrator Emma J. Virján.


REVIEW

 "What this story needs is a pig.  A pig in a wig, on a boat..." And so begins this ode to the joys and chaos of friendship.  But beyond the obvious themes is something that makes this book perfect for librarians like myself to use in teaching lessons about story elements.  As the story begins, a main character is presented (the pig in a wig), then a setting, followed by secondary characters (a frog, a dog, and a goat on a log), and finally a plot/problem appears as the boat in which the pig resides gets full of other characters and things (like a house).  Then when the pig objects to the crowding (the climax of the story), a solution is found.  But it turns out the solution isn't ideal and creates another problem, which then must be solved in the conclusion.  The book is a delightful way to help children understand how stories are created and makes for a great inspiration for writing stories of their own.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Join Pig in another fun read-aloud adventure on the farm and find out if she'll ever catch some ZZZs!

What this bedtime needs
is a pig in a wig
brushing her teeth,
combing her hair,
and getting ready for bed
with her pink teddy bear.


But with a honk, a quack, a moo, and more, it turns out what this bedtime really needs is a quieter place to sleep!


REVIEW

In this second amusing story in the Pig in a Wig series, the main character is trying to get to sleep, when the other farm animals come to visit.  The problem is that they do so very loudly.  Once again we have a delightful book for teaching young children about characters, and settings, and plots, as well as about secondary characters, and problems and solutions.  On top of that the rhyming scheme is delightful and makes the book fun to read out loud. And the cute twist at the end doesn't hurt things either as it shows the fun that can come when things end a bit differently than one might expect.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Join Pig and her friends in another fun read-aloud adventure as they figure out a way to keep the picnic fun and games going, even with a little rain.

What this story needs
is a pig in a wig
baking bread,
pouring punch,
and meeting a friend for a picnic lunch.


But just as the outdoor fun and games get started, a thunderstorm rolls in and it turns out what this story really needs is . . . another place to eat!


REVIEW

In this third book, our friend the pig in a wig sets out with a delicious picnic lunch to have some fun with her friends. And while things are great for a while, as happens in all great stories, a problem arises, one that isn't too surprising (a rainstorm), but which makes the book great for teaching children about predicting events.  It also makes for a great opportunity to talk about solving the problem.  The simple rhyming text and colorful pictures are attractive and appealing to youngsters as well, which doesn't hurt any.  That red wig is, after all, very eye-catching.


ABOUT THE BOOK

 Join Pig and her friends in their latest adventure as they get ready to put on the best show ever! From author-illustrator Emma J. Virján comes another funny read-aloud with catchy, rhythmic text and big, bold illustrations.

What this story needs is a pig in a wig,

building a stage, arranging a stand,

and getting ready to conduct the Pig in a Wig Band.

But when a surprise guest shows up onstage, scaring Elephant, there’s a BANG and a CLANG as everyone topples over! Will Pig and her friends be able to get back on track to finish the show?


REVIEW

The pig in a wig gathers her supplies and her friends for a concert in the park.  Things are banging along swimmingly until a surprise arrives creating chaos.  Oh, no, what will they all do!  But pig in a wig is determined, nothing shall stop her from putting on a show.  This fourth book gives the reader and listener ample opportunity to pretend to play instruments and make lots of noise, especially when the bangs and clangs arrive.  The rhyming cadence of the story and pleasing illustrations make this a great series for teachers and families of preschool and kindergarten children.


ABOUT THE BOOK


 The fifth and final book in the popular PIG IN A WIG series!

What this story needs is a pig in a wig, rushing to her car, dashing into place, ready to start the cross-country race!

Pig zooms off and takes the lead! But oh, no! There's a rumble, a pop, and a hiss, and Pig gets stuck in the mud. Will she be able to get back on track and finish the race? From author-illustrator Emma J. Virján comes another funny read-aloud with catchy, rhythmic text and big, bold illustrations featuring everyone’s favorite pig in a wig!


REVIEW

The pig in the wig rushes out her door to get to her car and the cross-country race. But can she win after disaster strikes?  With the help of the race crew, she just might still have a chance.  Once again, Virjan has presented the reader with an adorable, surprisingly simple, and enjoyable story about an interesting character.  Despite the simpleness of the story, the fun language and a theme about not giving up make this a great book for sharing and enjoying.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

CYBILS JUNIOR HIGH NONFICTION NOMINEE: Girling Up by Mayim Bialik


ABOUT THE BOOK

Mayim Bialik, star of The Big Bang Theory, puts her Ph.D. to work as she talks to teens about the science of growing up and getting ahead. A must-have book for all teenage girls.

Growing up as a girl in today's world is no easy task. Juggling family, friends, romantic relationships, social interests and school sometimes it feels like you might need to be a superhero to get through it all! But really, all you need is little information.

Want to know why your stomach does a flip-flop when you run into your crush in the hallway? Or how the food you put in your body now will affect you in the future? What about the best ways to stop freaking out about your next math test?

Using scientific facts, personal anecdotes, and wisdom gained from the world around us, Mayim Bialik, the star of The Big Bang Theory, shares what she has learned from her life and her many years studying neuroscience to tell you how you grow from a girl to a woman biologically, psychologically and sociologically.


REVIEW

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book.  I was aware the author was/is an actress and I was impressed that she also had a PhD, but that's about all I knew.  I actually ended up being quite impressed with the quality of the writing, the readability of the book, and the wide coverage of topics important to teenage girls.  That's not to say that I agreed with everything she said because I didn't, but that's mostly because of my own personal beliefs.

There ended up being a lot of information and advice in the book that I wish I'd had in junior high and high school.  Information about puberty and the bodily changes that occur during that time.  Advice about emotional and social changes and desires, including friendship and romantic relationships.  Bialik goes on to cover topics related to nutrition and exercise, school and learning, and making a difference in the world.  I think what makes the book so easy to relate to is the author's willingness to share some of her own struggles with 'girling up'  Her suggestions for learning to cope with stress and learning to take care of ourselves in healthy ways are especially valuable.

For those concerned about content, the book does give basic, science-based explanations of the changes that happen to both girl's and boy's bodies during puberty (including diagrams).  Descriptions of what sex is, the impact it can have on you as a girl, and the importance of consent are all part of the section on love.  Information about contraception and birth control as well as warnings about relationship abuse and rape are also included.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

HALLOWEEN PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: Bonaparte Falls Apart/Sam, the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World/Boo Who?/Pug & Pig: Trick-or-Treat


ABOUT THE BOOK


Bonaparte is having a tough time. It's hard for this young skeleton to just hang loose when he can't keep hold of himself. 

When he plays catch, his throwing arm literally takes a flyer. Eating lunch can be a real jaw-dropping occasion. How can he start school when he has so many screws loose?


Luckily, Bonaparte hit the bone-anza when it came to his friends. Franky Stein, Black Widow, and Mummicula all have some boneheaded ideas to help pull him together. But will it be enough to boost his confidence and get him ready for the first day of school?


REVIEW

Bonaparte fears going to school when he is constantly losing body parts.  A valid fear when you are a skeleton.  Bonaparte's friends try to help him come up with a solution, but their efforts fall short.  Glue proves to make it hard to move, spider webbing causes great tangling, and mummy wrappings make it hard to see.  But when the friends see a dog carrying a bone down the street, a new idea comes to life.  This is a cute story about friendship and problem-solving, rather unconventional problem-solving it's true, but for an unconventional problem.  The illustrations are fun and appealing.  This story works well for a beginning of school story as well as a Halloween story.



ABOUT THE BOOK

One day Sam, the most scaredy-cat kid in the whole world, makes a terrifying discovery. It's not Frankenthaler the monster. It's her friend-Kerry!
Kerry, the second most scaredy-cat kid in the whole world, also makes a terrifying discovery. It's not Leonardo the monster. It's his friend-Sam!
"AAAAH!" yells Sam.
"EEEEK!" yells Kerry.
Something has to be done. Something BIG. But what?


REVIEW

In this adorable follow-up to Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, Sam is the main character.  His friendship with Leonardo is intact, but his fears live on.  When Sam and Leonardo run into Kerry, the second most scaredy-cat kid in the world and her monster Frankenthaler, terror is the natural result.  But Leonardo and Frankenthaler don't have the patience to deal with the problem and leave, requiring Sam and Kerry to face each other alone.  In this rather unusual story of friendship, Willems, once again shows it's possible to face our fears and make the best of things. A winning story that many young listeners/readers can relate to, especially the fear of making friends.



ABOUT THE BOOK

A shy little ghost who s new to the group has trouble fitting in until his special talent comes to the fore.
 
Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can t play any of their games. ("You tagged me? Oh, sorry. I couldn t feel it.") Can Boo find a way to fit in and make friends with the rest of the group? From the creator of Rex Wrecks It! comes a funny story about feeling invisible and finding a way to be seen and appreciated for who you are."


REVIEW

Being the new kid can be difficult.  Making new friends and finding a way to belong is often difficult.  It is for Boo the ghost.  Even when he makes friends, he doesn't feel like he quite belongs.  He can't play the games the others play.  But maybe there is one game that Boo can play with his new friends.  Most children feel out of place and like they don't belong at one time or another.  In this sweet story of friendship, a little ghost is different than his new friends.  But together they find a way to be friends anyway.  A cute, sweet story that would work well as an introduction to differences and how to work around them for the youngest audience.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Pug and Pig are back for a heartwarming Halloween adventure in this adorable picture book that’s perfect for pet lovers of all ages.

Halloween night has come to Pug and Pig’s house, and the darling duo is sporting matching costumes. The costumes are cozy. They glow in the dark. And they have masks! There’s only one problem—Pug hates wearing his. So he decides to rip it up and stay home. But Halloween just isn’t any fun for Pig without Pug! Can Pug find a way to be a good friend and get back into the Halloween spirit?


REVIEW

Pig is thrilled with her costume and how it fits.  Pug hates his costume and how cramped he feels inside it.  Finally, Pug can't take it any more and sheds the costume.  But now Pig is sad because she doesn't have anyone to answer the door with, or trick or treat with, or go to the party with.  Can Pug find a solution that makes them both happy?  This is a pretty simple story, but that very simpleness is what carries the day as Pug and Pig need to compromise to make themselves both happy.  The story is cute, but the message at the heart of it, friendship and adapting to make that friendship work shines through beautifully.

 
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