Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Memorial Pick: Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder
by Kate Messner
Illustrations by Greg Ruth
Scholastic Press
2017
32 pages
ISBN: 9780545470124

Available April 25, 2017
Just in time for Memorial Day!

Rolling Thunder tells the story of a brave soldier, a grandfather now, who along with his grandson, visits the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, to honor his friends who were lost in battle. What a message! Illustrations bring America's heartland to readers.Author Kate Messner uses rhyming couplets and creates a tone of quiet, sadness and memories of those lost.

One  illustration depicts a young boy shaking the hand of a vet--it is poignant and full of grace. Other illustrations of the Rolling Thunder ride and the parade of bikes on the front cover are inspiring. One illustration shows the bikes coming head-on at the reader off of the page, This powerful image will have readers feeling the rumble of Rolling Thunder. The Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam wall of names are beautifully illustrated by Greg Ruth. Almost every two page spread shows an American flag proudly on display.

Rolling Thunder arrives just in time for Memorial Day. Finally!  A new picture book that librarians and teachers can use to teach children the importance of the day, of the soldiers who came before, of patriotism, and of being American and of being free!

This is one important little book. In tough times, our children need inspiration. They need to be taught and shown what is right and wrong. Rolling Thunder arrives just in time.

Highly, highly recommended for every classroom and collection. As a librarian, I always got requests for books that helped teach kids the significance of holidays. If you need inspiration for Memorial Day, look no more!

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book and Swag Giveaway: Dog Man Unleashed



I have FIVE FREE copies of Dog Man Unleashed to giveaway to lucky winners! Winners will also get a Dog Man poster and Dog Man tattoos! This is epic, people!

All you have to do for your chance to win is write a comment to this blog. Please include your first name, city, state and email. I need your email contact in case you win. It will not be used for anything else. Comments await publication, so it may take a day or two if you post on the weekend, but your comment will be published in the order it was received. 

Deadline for posting a comment is noon MST Feb. 27. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer and notified on Feb. 27. Please check your email on that date in the afternoon. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books, posters and tattoos will ship from New York . 

Now, good luck and start posting. Hooray for Dog Man! 

Reluctant Reader Pick: Dog Man Unleashed (book 2)

Dog Man Unleashed
by Dav Pilkey
Graphix
224 pages
2016
ISBN: 9780545935203

Kids don't need to be told: Dog Man Unleashed is the real deal! Dav Pilkey just keeps getting it right for those reluctant readers who just need a reason to pick up a book. This second book is even more fun than the original.Inane, silly, charming, ridiculous, and did I say silly? Well, fun then. Sheer fun!

 Pilkey does the amazing: he makes everything possible: a T. Rex skeleton becomes reanimated and dances around , a cat can be an evil genius, a police chief is so bumbling that he needs the assistance of Dog Man to solve even the silliest of crimes. In a graphic novel that reads more like a "Rocky and Bullwinkle" cartoon with evil Natasha and Boris, Dog Man is your hero. Pilkey must have spent every Saturday morning glued to his television watching the roadrunner outsmart Wile E. Coyote.

Poor Dog Man. He is half Dog (the head and dog instincts) and half human (the human body). In a  freak accident, Officer Knight and Greg the Dog get blown up, and  the ambulance takes them to the hospital with the siren sounding, "Wee-OOO-Wee_OOO" --never has anyone found a way to write a siren sound that was legit before Pilkey--so applause for that alone! The ER doctors say that the only way to fix Greg the Dog and Officer Knight is to combine them into one. This seems far-fetched, but it is laugh out loud funny!

Dialog is tongue-in-cheek with 80's and 90's references. It is irreverent and hysterical. Two kids are  passing by, a boy and a girl, and see the cat villain stealing treasure chests. A  mysterious stranger wants to stop him by  using  his mind powers to pick up a phone booth to throw at the cat. The kids ask, "What's a phone booth?" Next he picks up a stack of newspaper and a mailbox then "he grabs some other stuff with his brain" from Lulu's Obsolete Goods. The kids wonder what each obsolete item is and that's the fun of it! Adults will chuckle along with their reluctant readers--if they are lucky enough to be reading along, that is!

Dog Man is the perfect cop...except for the fact that every time he sees a bone, he wants to lick it and every time he sees a ball, he wants to chase it and catch it. Pilkey has included flip pages with instructions for readers to flip the pages and see the "action" cartoon. Readers will be delighted!
How to draw pages in back teach readers how to draw main characters and Pilkey's website has more content to interest young doodlers and dreamers.

Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series made readers out of a generation of reluctant readers two decades ago; Dog Man will take this generation by storm. Hooray for Dog Man!

Highly, highly recommended for all reluctant readers and anyone who needs a laugh. This is sheer silliness for the fun of it! Don't fight it! Give in to Dog Man!

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.







Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Picture Book Pick: Watersong

Watersong
by Tim McCanna
Illustrated by Richard Smythe
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
2017
32 pages
ISBN:9781481468817


Watersong is a brilliant work of art! They symphony of  watercolors capture the power of a rain storm and a young fox as he wanders his forest home. He watches the storm listening  to the raindrops and the wind. He sees the changes that the rain brings.

Tim McCanna's use of onomatapoeia will excite young readers to follow along and make the sounds on each page. This is book that needs to be read ALOUD over and OVER again. In fact, children will demand it to be read out loud.

Readers will love reading, "Drip, drop, plip, plop, pitter, patter, pat," and the sounds throughout the storm. After the storm, the young fox observes a rainbow before coming home to his mother and family. Facts about foxes and ecosystems are included on the last page.

Kirkus called this book "Beautiful," and no one will disagree.  In fact, Watersong is an early contender for the Caldecott Award.

This book is a must for language arts and poetry. Art classes will be dazzled by the beauty of the illustrations. Young readers will learn a few facts about ecosystems and the water cycle.

Highly, highly recommended for all young readers and all library collections.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Perfect Pick: If I Had a Little Dream

If I Had a Little Dream
by Nina Laden
Illustrations by Melissa Casrillon
A Paula Wiseman Book
2017
32 pages
ISBN: 9781481439244


Rhyming verse tells  a sweet story--a song if you will--that sings off the illustrated pages. A little girl narrates, "If I had a little land...." and rhymes the verse. After that first rhyme, she  inserts a new noun: house, garden, pond, boat, bicycle, table, chair, dog, cat, brother, sister, book (my favorite, of course!), nest and dream. The book page reads, "If I had a little book,/I would name it Friend./Friend would go wherever I went,/our story would never end."

Magical illustrations look  like an illuminated manuscript with the borders (marginalia) used effectively to frame the characters and story. The illustrations help to give this little keeper a nostalgic feeling of easier, less troublesome times.

 If I Had a Little Dream is a tender and loving story that celebrates life's simple treasures, Simple children's book magic done right!

Highly recommended for young dreamers everywhere.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Picture Perfect: Antoinette

Antoinette
by Kelly Dipucchio
illustrations by Christian Robinson
Antheneum Books for Young Reads
2017
32 pages
ISBN: 9781481457835
Available February 14, 2017

From the writer and illustrator that brought young readers Gaston (2014), their new picture book, Antoinette,  is bound to become a new favorite. Charming illustrations capture the beauty of Paris with its parks, cafes, streets and museums, Shop sign names are in French, and young readers will pick up a few French words. The playful puppies  are precious and lovable (just don't tell them!).

A family of bulldogs and poodles are friends and playmates. Antoinette's brothers all have a special asset: Ricky is fast, Bruno is strong and Rocky is clever, but Antoinette still has not found her secret talent. Mother bulldog tries to cheer Antoinette (who looks like the poodle family) up and tells her not to worry, that her talent will emerge some day.

One day at the park, the youngest poodle wanders off chasing a butterfly. Antoinette goes into high gear searching for Ooh-la-la! Using her incredible tracking skills and a nose that knows, Antoinette is able to track and save the little puppy from danger. Antoinette later becomes one of Paris's beloved police dogs!

Although the puppies are the main characters, the people who appear show ethnic diversity. Friendship, belonging, family, courage and taking a stand are embraced in a sweet story of fitting in and finding one's own voice.

Highly recommended ages 1-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.