Thursday, April 19, 2012

Every Day's a Dog's Day by Marilyn Singer; illus. by Miki Sakamoto ***

Appealing and full of cuteness for the dog lover.  That said, there's nothing that really makes it stand out above others in the area.  My favorite dog lover's poetry is Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan.

The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence ***

I would give T. Sands' audio presentation of this title 4 stars.  The only reason I hold back a little on the story itself is I find the audience a little questionable.  This is a rip-roaring western mystery set in 1862. P.K. Pinkerton's parents have just been murdered and P.K. travels to Virginia City in an attempt to escape the ruthless desperadoes and claim his deed to a large amount of land and silver mines.  Along the way P.K. acquires some interesting acquaintances including Samuel Clements.  The story is entertaining and the characters intriguing.  The title does include plenty of salty words, a dash of gore, and some questionably mature references.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wonder by R. J. Palacio *****

Wow!  I think this deserves 5+ stars.  It has been a long time since I've read late into the night - but this one had me doing just that even without the adventure or fantasy element.  Just spectacular writing kept me wanting more.  This is the fascinating story of 5th grader, Auggie Pullman who was born with sever facial abnormalities.  For the first time in his life he is being sent to school (having been home-schooled previously).  This title follows Auggie through his first year at school and includes sections told from the viewpoint of various supporting characters.  Wonderful.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

I listened to the audio on this one.  Mark Turetsky, the narrator, does a nice job, providing easily distinguishable voices for each character and carrying the action along nicely.  A Candymaker's son with a terrible past, a quiet boy who witnessed a drowning, a rich snob hiding more than one secret, and a perky young girl who is really a spy come together in this intriguing title.  If one can slog through the first half of the book they will be well rewarded.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Green - Written & Illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger *****

In this celebration of the color green, Seeger's amazing textures will have readers lingering over each page.

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems *****

Willems is the master when it comes to very young readers.  The pigeon appears once again in this new outing, this time learning a little lesson in humility.  While the youngest readers may not pick up on it, the last line will leave older readers laughing.

Sadie and Ratz by Sonya Hartnett; illustrated by Ann James ****

This title for young chapter book readers is just right - short chapters, large type, engaging characters, and a touch of humor.  Hannah's hands, Sadie and Ratz, get her in plenty of trouble.  They especially like to try to rub Baby Boy's ear's off - UH, OH!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

and then it's spring by Julie Fogliano & illus. by Erin Stead *****

This sweet poetic text meshes perfectly with Stead's woodblock prints with pencil.  They come together perfectly in this hopeful celebration of spring and the anticipation that proceeds it.  Lovely in every way!

Kali's Song by Jeanette Winter ****

Kali a Paleolithic cave dweller, discovers music in the string of his bow, leading him to care more about the beauty of the sound than the hung.  I love the textures of the illustrations.

Crow by Barbara Wright *****

Moses Thomas is a sympathetic and compelling character that offers readers a look into the terrible Wilmington Massacre of 1898.

Case of the Gypsy Goodbye *****

Five stars for this excellent conclusion to a captivating mystery series.  I found it satisfying in every way - and the audio book is superb.