The Popularity Papers: research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow (Abrams, 2010)

Readers who enjoy the Amelia books by Marissa Moss will enjoy this story.  The format of this book has been compared to the Diary of Wimpy Kid series.  However, The Diary of Wimpy Kid books are written in black and white with illustrations in black and white.  This book is written in a multitude of colors which gave this reader a headache!  Above all the story is funny and popular with patrons.

J, R- —Tee C (Port Chester-Rye Brook)

July 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

The Fizzy Whiz Kid by Maiya Williams (Abrams, 2010)

6th grader Mitch Mathis moves from the midwest to Hollywood, California with his parents.  Everyone in his school is involved with some facet or another with the entertainment business.  On a whim he auditions for a tv commercial and lands the part.  Thrust into the spotlight, Mitch begins to attend cool parties, learn to “work” the room and start signing autographs.  When he realizes that he’s neglected his friends and become someone he doesn’t like he ultimately decides he would rather be a normal kid then be a part of Hollywood stardom.  Williams creates a hilarious comic read that readers will enjoy.  The story is fast paced and has some unexpected twists and turns.

J, R—Tee C (Port Chester-Rye Brook)

July 13, 2010 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

Emily’s Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010)

The quiet and shy, eight year old Emily Wiggins becomes an orphan, after her mother is accidentally killed in a carriage crash with her employer, the very wealthy Miss Nash.  Her evil Uncle Victor is next of kin, and wants custody.  The unscrupulous Catchem Child-Catching Services is looking for her too.  Her lovely Aunt Hilda sends word for Emily to come and live with her on her farm in Redbud.  She is only related by marriage, but wants to share what little she has with her niece.  Her neighbors and guideposts, Mrs. Ready, Mrs. Aim and Mrs. Fire pack Emily up with her turtle, Rufus, and send them off to Redbud.  A several day journey by train and stagecoach ensues and is filled with obstacles.  Fortunately, she befriends Jackson, another orphan with the street-smarts and the confidence Emily lacks, who is also on the run from Catchem.  Half way through her trip Emily learns she is the one who will inherit Miss Nash’s fortune.  Most chapters end in cliffhangers and tension rises rapidly to the conclusion. This 1850’s, west coast adventure takes many wild twists and turns.  Will Emily and Jackson reach Redbud before Uncle Victor?  Can Emily develop the courage she needs in the face of danger?  How will the kind-hearted, Aunt Hilda convince the authorities that she should have custody of Emily instead of Uncle Victor?  Line art illustrations enhance the suspenseful text.

A great page-turner.  Ages 9-12

J R* — Anne Beier  (Hendrick Hudson Free Library)

July 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

Missing in Action by Dean Hughes (Simon & Schuster, 2010)

Jay’s father who is off fighting in WW II is missing in action.  He has moved with his mom to her small hometown in Delta, Utah and are living with his grandparents who are upstanding members of the Mormon community.  Jay who is part Navajo is immediately identified as “Chief” by the boys in the town.  Jay works on his grandfather’s farm and meets Ken a Japanese American teenager who lives in the nearby Japanese internment camp.  Jay and Ken become friends and share a love of baseball.  Hughes does a great job of depicting the prejudice that both Jay and Ken face by the townspeople.  However, the story wraps up too neatly and leaves the reader with lots of questions.

J, AD— Tee C (Port Chester-Rye Brook)

June 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Manga for the Beginner Chibis by Christopher Hart (Watson-Guptill, 2010)

This colorful and “cool” illustrated book gives the basic idea of drawing Manga characters from start to finish.  However, it doesn’t show the reader how to expand their art skill on their own.  (Basically, the reader/drawer is copying the artistic style of the author)  A plus for this book is that it includes every Chibis possible.   5 libraries have this book as a YA, but I think it is a crossover and good for children interested in drawing Manga.

J/YA/Crossover, AD+—Tee C (Port Chester-Rye Brook)

June 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick Press, 2010)

Little Flory, no bigger than an acorn, was born a night fairy. When Flory was less than three months old, she was attacked by a brown bat who crunched her wings. Luckily, she landed in a giant’s garden and found shelter in an unused bird house. She no longer could protect herself at night and so, Flory became a daytime fairy. Her first friend was Skuggle, a young squirrel who was perpetually hungry. Flory showed Skuggle how to tip the bird feeder for seeds and in exchange, Skuggle became her means of transportation through the garden. Flory has many adventures with creatures of all kinds. She perfects her magic spells. She rescues a hummingbird and keeps the bird’s eggs warm. The life of a fairy is both magical and adventurous. Schlitz makes the magic come alive.

J Fiction, Recommended—Lillian Hecker (Pel)

June 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm Leave a comment

Barnaby Grimes: Phantom of Blood Alley by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (Daniel Fickling Books, 2010)

Barnaby Grimes, a tick-tock lad, gets paid by delivering anything and everything anywhere in London as quickly as possible. Tick-tock lads save time by ‘highstacking’ or running over the city’s rooftops – a dangerous game. The adventure begins when Grimes is employed by Clarissa Oliphant, a fencing teacher, to follow her brother who is secretive and is behaving strangely. Indeed, Laurence Oliphant has developed a fascination for “painting with light” or what we today call photography and stealthily running out at night. Grimes observes Oliphant deliberately trip an old woman and steal an apple. Finally, Oliphant produces a key to let himself into a filthy hovel in the seediest part of town known as Blood Alley. A short time later Oliphant is found murdered by his sister’s sword. It is up to Barnaby to discover the real killer and free Clarissa. Barnaby is helped by a huge dog, the first skateboard ever invented, and his own considerable skills. This is a grand adventure tale that also manages to include the history of early photography.

J Fiction, Recommended—Lillian Hecker (PEL)

May 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm Leave a comment

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