Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And the Winner Is...by Etta Kaner

This was a cute little book.  During the Wild Animal Games animals competed in swimming, running, high jump, long jump, weight lifting, aerobatics, and marathon.  In each event four animals competed.  Facts were given about each animal and then statistics were given about the winner.  In each event the record human times were compared with animals - humans came in behind every time.  Some of these were animals and facts I knew and some were not.  Cute set up and a good read for 2nd and 3rd graders.  

Ribbet :)  

I received this book free from Netgalley but I am not required to give a positive review.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough

This book combined several of my loves/interests.  It started in limerick, Maine which is one town over from me and it is about a children's librarian.  How cool.  Anne Carroll Moore helped grant children access to libraries and helped create children's collections and spaces in public libraries including the New York Public Library.  She's my hero.  Thought this was a great book because it celebrates a local hero.  Ribbet for sure. 

Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball


This book was about Lena Blackburne who "found" a mud that is used on baseballs. New baseballs are "too shiny and slick". Baseball players in the past tried many ways to get rid of the shine - soaking them in water, spitting on them, and shoe polish but all of these had drawbacks. One day Lena was fishing and stepped in some mud. He found that the mud could be used to get the shine off but didn't ruin the balls. Lena's mud is now used all the time and even has a display in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I thought this was a cool book.  I give it a ribbet :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dragon Run by Patrick Matthew


I really like books about dragons and I had high hopes for this one.  The premise was actually pretty cool.  On Testing Day kids find out their rank.  It's kind of a caste system.  The kids are all worried they will be a 2 or even a 1.  So when Al is ranked as a zero it's unthinkable.  In fact, he never even knew there was such a thing.  Why?  Because zeros and their families get culled.  So Al runs away and his family acts like he was adopted.  Great.  But Al isn't done.  With some help from friends, other creatures, and some unlikely allies he finds out that as a zero he can actually be a hero.  The premise was good but I felt the book dragged in places and there were some aspects that weren't fully developed - potentia, porta, the magic.  

So can I give it a ribbet?  Hmmm...not fully.  But it wasn't really a croak either.  I'd have to say it's a ribbak - mostly a ribbet but a partial croak.  I don't have a frog picture that will match that - sorry.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chickenhare by Chris Grine

I'm not a big fan of graphic novels.  There I said it.  My students love it which is why the 700s (741.5 to be exact) are the most circulated Dewey numbers. Chickenhare and Abe are being taken to Klaus the taxidermist. Once there they meet to other "animals" - Banjo and Meg who are also about to be stuffed. They are able to escape and with the help of a dead goat Buttons they are able to defeat Klaus and his henchmen.This is actually a croak for me - but I still bought it for my library because the students will like it.


Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed

Twelve Kinds of Ice

Oh, I really liked this book.  It was a very simple celebration of winter and the anticipation of things freezing over.  I loved the pasture ice section - it sounded like so much fun!!  I love the fact that the author is from Maine and writing about her childhood memories of the ice and what it meant to her family.  A ribbit for sure.   

Reading Dilemma

So Many Books...So Little Time.  Isn't that the truth.  I'm guessing I have a close to 100 books in my room I want to read plus all the Free Friday Nook Books I am hoarding on my Nook.  Oh and then there's the Netgalley books.  The last 2 years I have read all the books on the year's Maine Student Book Award list and also been able to read a lot of other books.  Now I am on the committee.  So, I am reading books published in 2013 that will go on the 2014/2015 list.  But I haven't read all the books on the 2013/2014 list.  Oh the horror.  I currently have 11 books in the immediate pile - 5 are 2013 books, 4 are books on the 2013/2014 list, and the other 2 are just books I've really wanted to read.  Like I said before that doesn't include the Netgalley books.  Oh and did I mention I am still working on my Library and Information Science degree (1 class now, 2 in the summer), I work fulltime, I try to run at least every other day, I am helping with the school play, I am a wife and mother, and I am addicted to CrossMe on my phone.  What to do?  Well first, stop writing this blog and finish my research paper.  Then watch Survivor (one of the few shows I watch) and then try to fit in a blog/book review of one I finished last night, and maybe read a 2013 graphic novel before bed.  Overcommited much??

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Starring Jules (As Herself) by Beth Ain

 Starring Jules by Beth Levine Ain
This was a very cute book.  Jules was a great quirky character with some typical friendship issues.  It was nice to see during the course of the book that some of the friendship issues were resolved.  I loved the tryout Jules did for the commercial and her reaction to the orange mouthwash - very funny.  The story left the reader hanging as Jules got an offer to do a movie.  As part of the committee I am on I am looking for books for grades 4 - 8.  When I finished reading this I was left thinking it was cute but there wasn't a lot of substance.  I was thinking it would be good for fans of Junie B Jones, Judy Moody, and similar characters.  In my grade 4 - 6 school I may get some of my lower readers to pick it up.  I order my books through Titlewave for my library and I was very surprised that this book was rated at a 5.4 reading level.  I don't really see many of my 5th graders reading a book about a girl who is about to turn 8.  I will give it a Ribbet and it will be in my library mostly because my school will be changing to grades 1 - 5 next year and the 2nd and 3rd graders will like it.

In other news I have decided to use images of the book cover in my entries.  I debated it mostly because as a librarian I wanted to make sure I was following copyright guidelines so even though almost everyone else uses images I wanted to make sure it was okay.  I did some research and looked again at the fair use guidelines and based on what I understand it is okay to use the cover image.  My intentions with this blog are to promote books and I think it is helpful to potential readers/buyers to see the cover.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore

Love, love, love.  This was a really great book.  It reminded me of Tuck Everlasting of course and even reminded me of Holes.  I loved how it went back in time to Orlando, Harry, and Nora and then went back to Ephraim, Mallory, and Will.  There was enough mystery left at the end to make you continue to wonder which was great.  Like what did Mallory's mom know???  There was a curious conversation between Mallory's mom and dad that never got resolved.  Did Harry ever drink the water.  Great book and set in Maine to boot :)  Definitely gets a ribbit :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

I really enjoyed this book.  Twerp (Julian Twerski) is a young Jewish boy living in New York in the late 1960s.  At the beginning of the book you find out he has been suspended and that his English teacher wants him to write about it.  Julian writes.  He writes about a lot of things - his friends, walking the fence with the circus axle, Jillian and the love letter, and running - but he does not write about what happened to Danley until the very end.  Julian is a great character - a bit insecure, caring, and really sorry for what he did but not sure how to make it right.  Of course, throw in a character from Guatemala and that made it even more interesting to me - and Eduardo was a great character too.  There was a bit of language and some parts of the book that boys will love and girls might find uncomfortable.  Given the time period there were terms used that some might find offensive so it be good to make sure students understand the context of the book.  This gets a ribbet from me.

I think this book would work well for grades 5 - 8.

I received a digital copy of the book from Netgalley but I am not required to do a positive review.  The book will be released on May 28th.  I am hoping the cover is actually more orange than it looks on my digital version or it is changed altogether just so it is easier to sell to the boys.

Unlucky Charms by Adam Rex

Sorry...this just didn't work for me.  I have been told that the first book Cold Cereal was really funny and I didn't read that one so part of the problem is probably that this is a middle book.  To me there were too many characters, who were too alike, going in too many different directions.  This was a croaker for me.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Gotta be honest...  Although I got it... it's a metaphor about childhood and it had some great language, creative dialogue, interesting setting, quirky characters...I don't think my students would get it at all.  Okay...maybe if they stuck it out they would figure out where Jerry Spinelli was going but honestly I don't think my students would stick it out.  So sorry...it's getting a croak from me because I won't be getting it for my library.

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Loved this book!!!  I loved that it was set in Maine and done well.  I've read some "Maine" or "New England" books recently that just didn't cut it for me.  This was great.  There was a lot of depth to both Jack and Early.  Jack learned so much about himself, his father, loss, friendship, and persistence.  And Early...I loved his fascination with pi, his unwavering belief in his brother and himself.  Clare Vanderpool did a great job of getting in Early's head and "getting" him as a character.  The story came together brilliantly and even had a few surprises.  Of course I thought the librarian was great!!!  This gets a ribbit for sure...maybe a whole chorus of them...think spring peepers going crazy.

The Worm Whisperer by Betty Hicks

I truly enjoyed The Worm Whisperer by Betty Hicks.It definitely gets a ribbit from me.  Ellis was a great character.  He truly wanted to help out his family and he had a special way with animals.  About halfway through the book I thought I knew how it was going to end and   then...surprise...it didn't.  Good job!!  The ending wasn't "everything out perfectly" but it was "everything turns out" which is how a book should be.  This book will be perfect in my library next year.

What I Love...

I love to read.  I always have.  As a teacher I filled my classroom with books.  Now, as a librarian, I have the joy of placing books in the hands of students.  I love to recommend books, I love reading with a group of students, and I love when students share what they are reading with me.

I enjoy reading all types of books but my favorite are ones written for grades 5 and up.  I am one of those adults who enjoys young adult fiction.  I love a good dystopian book or something that messes with my head a bit.  I am currently on the Maine Student Book Award Committee so the books I am reading for that will find their way on here.  I'll limit my posts on here to books for children.  If you want to see what else I am reading you could check out goodreads.com/LibrarianinaCandyShop

I live on a pond.  It is a beautiful, tranquil place.  It is the perfect spot for reading.  I love frogs.  I'm not even really sure why.  The picture on my background captures the pond and the frog that was climbing up our window one day. 

This blog will be for my book musings.  In the spirit of my frog love I plan on rating books as either croakers (not good) or ribbits (good).  Other than that I'll say what's on my mind and maybe give some ideas of how to use the book.  I could turn on the "eloquent essay speak" and talk about intricate plot points, the author's style, and how everything ties in to the Common Core if I wanted to but I'd rather keep it simple and easy like the pond and like the frogs who are just chilling.  No stress, no trying to impress anyone.