"Animal Magnetism" by Jill Shalvis - "Brady Miller is always on the move as he covers global hot spots for an independent security contractor. Still, when his foster 'brothers' Adam and Dell say they need his help with their veterinary practice/animal rescue business, he can't say no, though the month he promises to stay in Idaho might seem like an eternity. His visit begins with a bang when Lilah Young rear-ends his parked truck while dealing with a Jeep-ful of puppies, piglets, and a duck. Running her own kennel/pet-sitting service, finding homes for abandoned animals, and studying to be a vet take up all of Lilah's time. Brady seems like he might be too much of a distraction.... Verdict Shalvis (Slow Heat) ramps up the pet-friendly book trend with this story of two people who are looking for very different things while reluctantly finding common ground and perhaps rescuing each other. The cute-as-can- be four-legged critters keep the humor and the humanity at full throttle. This steamy, romantic barn-burner is recommended for most collections."--Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2011.
"Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage" by Kieran Kramer - "Kramer's crisp, witty writing is unfortunately undermined by a straw-man villain in the third Impossible Bachelors Regency romance.... Runaway wife Jilly Jones set up Hodgepodge, a bookstore, on London's Dreare Street with a trusted but eccentric family friend. Dreare lives up to its name: its inhabitants suffer bad luck, and her handsome neighbor, Capt. Stephen Arrow, is a rowdy rascal. Stephen is attempting to sell his ramshackle inherited house despite an infestation of boorish relatives. When a lawyer shows up and announces that all of Dreare Street is in arrears, the colorful inhabitants come together in a hilariously terrible plan to save the day. The delightful romance and comedy-of-errors feel only falter when Jilly's husband shows up and his paper-thin subplot briefly takes center stage." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2011.
"The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris" by David McCullough - "The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work....
Nearly all of these Americans, whatever their troubles learning French, their spells of homesickness, and their suffering in the raw cold winters by the Seine, spent many of the happiest days and nights of their lives in Paris. McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens’s phrase, longed “to soar into the blue.” The Greater Journey is itself a masterpiece." -- AMAZON.COM
"Kill Me If You Can" by James Patterson - "During an attack on Grand Central in New York, hard-up art student Matthew Bannon finds a bag containing $13 million worth of diamonds, so of course he takes it. ... Soon he's being trailed by the Ghost, an assassin who just rubbed out a high- ranking member of the Diamond Syndicate and was supposed to retrieve the gems. And he's being trailed by a rival assassin. Another biggie from Patterson (and Karp, a producer also responsible for the Lomax and Biggs series). Interesting tidbit: Patterson was the first writer in the world to sell one million ebooks."-- LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2011.
"One Summer" by David Baldacci - "Baldacci, the author of a string of best-selling thrillers, once again steps outside his comfort zone.... A man is on his deathbed (literally) when his wife is killed in a car accident. Well-meaning relatives take charge of the three children, but then, miraculously, the man (whose illness is described as, as always, fatal) makes a full recovery. And now he must bring his family back together and rediscover the beauty of life itself. Readers completely unfamiliar with this sort of movie-of-the-week story might be entertained, but others will be in for a disappointment." -- David Pitt. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
"Race" by Clive Cussler - "In the fourth Isaac Bell novel, set in 1910, the Van Dorn Detective Agency's chief investigator is hired by a powerful newspaper publisher to keep his star aviator safe from her own husband (who has already spent time in an insane asylum for killing a man and who has just murdered his wife's lover). Bell, juggling the dual tasks of protecting the flyer and locating her psychopathic husband, soon discovers that very little about this assignment is as straightforward as it first seemed. Full of twists and turns--and one whopping big surprise--the story should keep readers glued to their chairs. ...Cussler, ably assisted by Scott, demonstrates that he is not only comfortable writing stories set in the past, but that, at this late stage of his career, which has seen both hits and misses, he's also capable of turning out some of his best work." -- David Pitt. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
"Split Second" by Catherine Coulter - "FBI agents Lucy Carlyle and Cooper McKnight, along with husband-and-wife agents Savich and Sherlock, track a serial killer dubbed the Black Beret, who turns out to be related to the notorious Ted Bundy. Savich also investigates when convenience store owner Mr. Patil is shot in two different robbery attempts. A coincidence? Savich has a hard time buying that. Who wants Mr. Patil dead? Lucy also delves into her family's past after her father, on his deathbed, cries out, asking his mother why she killed his father. Lucy had been told her grandfather left the family, so she looks through her grandmother's house for proof of what really happened. Her personal life is changing, too, as she finally warms up to Coop. Told from several points of view, including the serial killer's, the novel moves quickly, thanks to short chapters and numerous plot twists. One plot element, the appearance of a magic ring, requires significant suspension of disbelief and proves jarring in this otherwise realistic and, in the main, riveting story." Sue O'Brien. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
"Damage Done" by Hilary Davidson - "Travel writer Lily Moore is called back to New York by news of the death of her younger sister, Claudia, but on arrival, she discovers that the body found in the bathtub of her apartment isn't Claudia's...So who died in the apartment that Lily still pays for? Where is Claudia? And how are Claudia's close friend and onetime lover, wealthy Tariq Lawrence, and Lily's ex-fiance, real-estate magnate Martin Sklar, involved? With the help of her best friend, Jesse, and a couple of sympathetic cops, Lily traces strands of a tangled web back to a shady rehab facility. Travel-journalist Davidson does a fine job with characterizations, gradually fleshing out the Moore sisters' backstory, and she keeps plot tangents under control to spin a tale of nonstop action with a nice final twist. An entertaining and promising crime- fiction debut, with the potential for a sequel."-- Michele Leber. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2010.
"Dark Fire" by C. J. Sansom -"Hunchback Matthew Shardlake may be one of the sharpest lawyers in sixteenth- century England, but his skills have failed him in the defense of a friend's niece accused of murder. When Henry VIII's vicar general, Thomas Cromwell, spares the convicted girl's life for 14 days, Shardlake knows the reprieve comes at a hefty price: in that time, the lawyer must find a lost cache of 'dark fire,' the liquid weapon of mass destruction Cromwell has promised to deliver to the increasingly ill-tempered king. With the help of one of Cromwell's impudent servants, Shardlake pursues clues leading him to alchemists, aristocrats, and barristers alike. But in a country bitterly split between Roman Catholics and the newly formed Church of England, it's difficult to distinguish friend from foe. The body count climbs ever higher as Shardlake inches closer to the truth-- and toward the deadline for his client's execution. Like his gripping debut, 'Dissolution 'BKL Ap 1 03, Sansom's second Shardlake thriller is suffused with rich period detail and an aura of foreboding."-- Allison Block. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2004
"Flash and Bones" by Kathy Reichs - "In a landfill near the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, workers discover human bones in a 35-gallon drum of asphalt. It turns out there's a man's body in the drum, but identifying it could take some doing. There are a couple of possible candidates, including a recently missing Georgia man and a NASCAR driver who vanished more than a decade ago..., but Temperance Brennan isn't entirely sure the body belongs to either of those people. When she finds that the drum also contains a highly toxic substance, and then another man disappears, Brennan begins to suspect this case is much bigger than a body in a drum. Despite the popularity of the Fox TV series Bones, which is based on the Brennan novels, Reichs has done an excellent job of keeping the books separate from their television spin- off. The literary Brennan remains older and more layered than her television incarnation, and the novels remain deeper, darker, and more complex. A fine entry in a consistently solid series." -- David Pitt. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
"Revelation" by C. J. Sansom - "Sansom once again demonstrates his consummate knowledge of Tudor England's politics and culture, and even the sounds and smells of sixteenth-century London's streets. This time out, the reign of King Henry VIII is in its twilight years, but His Majesty is nevertheless interested in taking a new wife, who would be his sixth. Religious issues continue to clash, as they have during much of his reign-- Protestant reformist ideas slamming up against more traditional religious dogma and practices. It is a dangerous time; people 'must be careful what they say in public these days.' Shardlake has been assigned a peculiar case: a boy whose religious-oriented rantings have caused him to be incarcerated in a Bedlam hospital for the mentally unstable. When his good friend is found murdered, Shardlake is off and running to connect all the puzzling dots between the two cases. Like its predecessors, this installment in the series is sophisticated entertainment, with an intricately but not confusingly wrought plot."-- Brad Hooper. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2009.
"Pirate King: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes" by Laurie R. King - "Author Laurie King's many readers will be delighted to learn that her character Mary Russell, known to mystery fans as the wife of famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes and a detective in her own right, is off on a new adventure. The play's the thing--or in this case a moving picture--and a film within a film forms the imaginative backdrop in Pirate King, a wild and woolly tale that plays artfully with the confusion between reality and make-believe.... She's up to her neck in kidnapping, cutlasses, topmast stays'ls and port deadeyes, and way too far up in the rigging for her own taste. There's also the Pirate King himself to contend with, decked out in ostrich plumes, with a parrot that spouts English lyric poetry. And Holmes himself appears, in a hilarious overboard (literally) scene. Undaunted, Ms. Russell--armed with weapons of her own--manages to scale the barricades and quell the uprising, to the satisfaction of all hands." -- BOOKPAGE, c2011.
"Sherlockian" by Graham Moore - "This debut literary thriller, which revolves around a central mystery in Arthur Conan Doyle's life..., weaves together two very different perspectives and time periods. At the annual Baker Street Irregular convention in 2010, newly minted 'Irregular' Harold immediately begins investigating the murder of Alex Cale, a top Sherlock Holmes scholar who had bragged about finding the famously missing volume of Conan Doyle's diary. But when Cale is found dead in his hotel room, the diary is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, back in 1900, Conan Doyle, desperately sick of his famous character, decides he must channel his own creation to find the person who sent him a letter bomb. Teaming up with his friend Bram Stoker, the author finds the situation is much more complicated, involving suffragettes, cryptic tattoos, and murder. VERDICT The constant switching of narrators can be jarring, but Moore does an excellent job of making his characters and settings feel real, using his thorough knowledge of the Holmes stories to good effect." --Laurel Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib., CA. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2010.
"Sovereign" by C. J. Sansom - "The ... mystery ...whisks dedicated readers ... off to the north of England--the city of York, to be specific-- as the city prepares for its turn to host King Henry VIII's 'progress' through the northern regions of his kingdom, the purpose of which is to settle local legal disputes. Shardlake, one smart guy, is a London lawyer who has, this time out, been appointed to travel to York to help prepare cases for presentation before His Majesty. The king's chief minister, Archbishop Cramner, has also employed Shardlake for another task: to ensure the safekeeping of a man currently imprisoned in York, charged with conspiracy against the crown, and make certain he is kept well enough for removal to London for further 'interrogation.' And once in York, a third task falls upon our man Shardlake. Atmosphere abounds in this marvelously drawn novel, which essentially is all about conspiracies to unseat King Henry, centered on resistance to his dynasty and his Protestantism, which were both unpopular in the North."-- Brad Hooper. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2007.
"Treason at Lisson Grove" by Anne Perry - "Page reprises his role as reader of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels ... in Perry's latest Victorian mystery. Inspector Thomas Pitt and his superior, Victor Narraway, investigate the murder of a man who was a secret informant 'prepared to divulge details of a potentially devastating international plot against the British government.' After Narraway and Charlotte Pitt narrowly escape with their lives, they realize Narraway was lured to Ireland in order to oust him from his position so a plot could be carried out to remove the queen from her throne. Page is comfortable with dialects, including stodgy, upper-crust British (for Queen Victoria) and Irish and French. When tempers rise, listeners can almost see the characters' flaring nostrils. Page's reading has enough urgency to move the mystery along yet never sounds hurried."-- Marna Rundgren. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
"1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created" by Charles C. Mann - "this tome surveys up-to-date scholarship on the ramifications of Columbus' voyage. Eschewing condemnation or exaltation, Mann aims to explain all that was exchanged during the centuries in which ships connected continents. Diseases, pests, plants, people, and silver are the major transports into which he delves, and he presents them in their scientific, geographic, economic, and historical aspects.... Shaping a sprawl of information, he emphasizes how homogenization was unleashed by transoceanic trade, as is illustrated most minutely in discussions of the potato, the rubber tree, and mixed- race societies. With its theme of globalization, Mann's survey should interest not only history readers but also those concerned about the environmental and social impacts of contemporary world commerce."-- Gilbert Taylor. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
"A Language Older Than Words" by Derrick Jensen -"Singular, compelling and courageously honest, this book is more than just a poignant memoir of a harrowingly abusive childhood. It relates the extraordinary journey of one man striving to save his own spirit and our planet's. Comparing his physically and sexually abusive father's destruction of his family with humankind's systematic destruction of civilization, New York Times Magazine contributor Jensen (Listening to the Land) tells a story about the hope for regeneration in a landscape of human and natural desolation. Throughout, Jensen mobilizes his experiences as student, teacher, environmentalist, beekeeper, high jumper, abused child and survivor to delve deeper inside his own wounded psyche while condemning the constrictions of a culture that fosters abuse. In lyrical prose, Jensen calls for accountability and urges people 'to live in dynamic equilibrium with the rest of the world.' Rather than naively proposing an answer to the ills of modernity, he demonstrates the complexity of the problems by examining an array of environmental and sociopolitical atrocities,...and what he sees as the reckless production of plutonium to further space exploration and the maltreatment of indigenous peoples by self-serving neighbors. His visceral, biting observations always manage to lead back to his mantra: 'Things don't have to be the way they are.' Jensen's book accomplishes the rare feat of both breaking and mending the reader's heart." -- CAHNERS PUBLISHING, c2000.
"Bento's Sketchbook" by John Berger - "...Let's start with the title, which alludes to a long-rumored but never-found sketchbook by the philosopher Spinoza, to whom Berger refers affectionately as 'Bento' (the nickname for Benedict) and whom he excerpts liberally....Berger delves deeply into the processes of making and responding to art, of thinking and being, of narrative and history, of the essence of humanity. Taking inspiration from the possibility of a Spinoza sketchbook, the author 'began to make drawings prompted by something asking to be drawn.' In the process, he began to focus on what he drew and why he drew, connecting the creation of art to everything from philosophy to politics to religion. Each of the prose pieces--some as short as a paragraph, few longer than a couple of pages--is self- contained, yet this volume isn't exactly a collection of essays, for none are titled and all are thematically interconnected as well. Whether he's extending an analogy that compares making a drawing to riding a motorbike or discusses storytelling in a manner that could apply just as well to drawing ... he makes such interaction and interconnection seem central to the human condition. Berger's readers will see with fresh eyes." -- KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2011.
"Fiery Tale: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" by Eric Foner - "A mixture of visionary progressivism and repugnant racism, Abraham Lincoln's attitude toward slavery is the most troubling aspect of his public life,... Foner...traces the complexities of Lincoln's evolving ideas about slavery and African-Americans: while he detested slavery, he also publicly rejected political and social equality for blacks, dragged his feet (critics charged) on emancipating slaves and accepting black recruits into the Union army, and floated schemes for 'colonizing' freedmen overseas almost to war's end. Foner situates this record within a lucid, nuanced discussion of the era's turbulent racial politics; in his account Lincoln is a canny operator, cautiously navigating the racist attitudes of Northern whites, prodded--and sometimes willing to be prodded--by abolitionists and racial egalitarians pressing faster reforms. But as Foner tells it, Lincoln also embodies a society-wide transformation in consciousness, as the war's upheavals and the dynamic new roles played by African-Americans made previously unthinkable claims of freedom and equality seem inevitable. Lincoln is no paragon in Foner's searching portrait, but something more essential--a politician with an open mind and a restless conscience."-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2010.
"That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back" by Thomas Friedman - "Gr 8 Up. In this ambitious novel, Cameron, a 16-year-old slacker whose somewhat dysfunctional family has just about given up on him, as perhaps he himself has, when his diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jacob, 'mad cow' disease, reunites them, if too late. The heart of the story, though, is a hallucinatory--or is it?--quest with many parallels to the hopeless but inspirational efforts of Don Quixote, about whom Cameron had been reading before his illness. Just like the crazy--or was he?--Spaniard, Cam is motivated to go on a journey by a sort of Dulcinea. His pink- haired, white-winged version goes by Dulcie and leads him to take up arms against the Dark Wizard and fire giants that attack him intermittently, and to find a missing Dr. X, who can both help save the world and cure him. Cameron's Sancho is a Mexican-American dwarf, game- master hypochondriac he met in the pot smokers' bathroom at school who later turns up as his hospital roommate. Bray blends in a hearty dose of satire on the road trip as Cameron leaves his Texas deathbed--or does he?--to battle evil forces with a legendary jazz horn player, to escape the evil clutches of a happiness cult, to experiment with cloistered scientists trying to solve the mysteries of the universe, and to save a yard gnome embodying a Viking god from the clutches of the materialistic, fame-obsessed MTV-culture clones who shun individual thought. It's a trip worth taking, though meandering and message-driven at times. Some teens may check out before Cameron makes it to his final destination, but many will enjoy asking themselves the questions both deep and shallow that pop up along the way." --Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2009.
"Veganist: Lost Lost Weight, Get Healthy, and Change the World" by Kathy Freston - "Freston promises readers who gives up meat, dairy, and eggs that they will effortlessly lose weight, avoid cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's, save money, help the poor, reduce their carbon footprint and animal suffering, and evolve spiritually. Freston, coining the word 'veganist,' puts a soft edge on the vegan lifestyle: 'It's not about hard lines or purity or perfection but about intention and holding ideas loosely and taking steps in the direction of the kind of person you want to be.' ...The book provides 'tips for making the switch,' FAQs answered by Dr. Barnard, and sample menus, but no recipes, so readers used to meat and potatoes may be stymied by how to prepare 'flax seed and whole-grain pizza with classic margherita topping.' Even so, for the novice, this book offers a gentle, guilt-free path to a meatless (or even, as Feston says, 'vegan-ish') life."-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2011.
"In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir" by Richard B. Cheney - "...anyone who has been listening to Cheney all these years will find more detail in his memoir but nothing startling. The phrase 'We were right' appears more than once. ... Much of the book, which was written with Cheney's daughter, Liz, is about settling scores. ... Despite occasionally praising Bush as a strong leader, Cheney has relatively little to say about his former boss. True, this is Cheney's book, but he subtly makes efforts to show that when it came to making decisions, running confabs with world leaders, and taking the lead on a variety domestic issues, he was the decisive one in the administration. ... Surprisingly, considering Cheney's taciturn demeanor, the tone of the narrative is often chatty, and his account of growing up in Wyoming proves particularly interesting. What Cheney never really addresses is how his ability to play the system allowed him to make the best possible choices in his life and career. Five military deferments meant he didn't serve in Vietnam (though he says he would have answered the call if asked). Access to cutting-edge medical care means he is still alive when most other men with his heart condition would have been long gone. The truest thing about this book is that everyone--supporters and haters--will get exactly what they expect." -- Ilene Cooper. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
"Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins - "Playwright and audio dramatist Beverley Cooper has done a masterful job in adapting Collins's classic Victorian suspense novel to the audio medium. Within the framing story of a courtroom setting, each character stands up to describe the events that he or she has witnessed; the words of testimony then fade into a flashback scene, so the listener can experience the story as it unfolds. The actors are simply marvelous, particularly Douglas Campbell as the oily, sinister Count Fosco and Cedric Smith as Lord Percival Glyde, the manipulative gold digger with secrets to hide. Suzanne Hoffman sounds appropriately sweet and lovely as Laura, the damsel in distress, and Gina Wilkinson gives a nice contrasting performance as her practical, intelligent and down-to- earth sister, Marian. The story is well paced and suspenseful, while background music adds a subtly ominous atmosphere without distracting from the tale. Likewise, the production uses just the right amount of sound effects. With its colorful characters and air of mystery, this superb dramatization truly does the tale justice." -- CAHNERS PUBLISHING, c2006.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
"Ken Burns Protection"
"Big Nate Boredom Buster: Super Scribbles, Cool Comix, and Lots of Laughs" by Lincoln Pierce - "Class clown. Self-described genius. Mischief maker. Big Nate knows trouble. Nate may not be Joe Honor Roll, but he knows he's meant for BIG fun. He's always up for scribbling, games, jokes, laughs, and creating comics. And now YOU can join him!
An awesome way to guarantee 100% relief from boredom—learn to doodle, draw, and write the Big Nate way" -- AMAZON.COM
"Emerald Casket" by Richard Newsome - "Gr 3-6--This old-fashioned adventure series continues along in its Biedermeyer-esque fashion, with many unlikely coincidences and melodramatic danger. The world's youngest billionaire, Gerald Wilkins; twins Ruby and Sam; and Indian femme fatale Alisha are on the hunt for a mysterious casket with supernatural powers. Evil Sir Mason Green, along with his murderous henchman, 'the thin man,' uses the children to try to steal this casket once they find it just as he did in The Billionaire's Curse (HarperCollins, 2010). They all head to India in search of a death cult that curiously shares the same symbology as Gerald's family crest. Character development is nil; new characters are introduced only to become stock figures so often found in this type of adventure, and the story is entirely plot driven. Some Australian slang will be unfamiliar to American readers." --B. Allison Gray, Goleta Public Library, CA. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2011.
"Milo: Sticky Notes & Brain Freeze" by Alan Silberberg - "Ages 9-14. ... From the cover-- with its saturated color, cartoony kids and sunshiny graphic elements--I expected another knockoff of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. And it does begins that way. We have Milo, who is filled with angst as he prepares to enter seventh grade at his fifth school in a couple of years. We have his cranky older sister and his vaguely absent father. Then there is the imaginary Dabney St. Claire, the suave inner voice of cool, who attempts to help Milo navigate the waters of junior high. But there is more to this story than meets the eye. Soon the narrative offers a hint that something is troubling Milo and his little family. It was one brief phrase that grabbed me: 'After my mom first got sick.' References to the death of Milo's mother are carefully constructed and beautifully done. ...When writing a book about death, it would be easy to bathe the loss in life lessons and advice. Silberberg, thankfully, does neither. He grabs onto the 13-year-old's voice and holds tight. Milo grows and changes the way a young teen typically does--through the day-to-day activities of school and home. His dreams of the unattainable Summer Goodman, ridiculous as they are to everyone but him, keep hope alive. And one unlikely friendship--with a grieving widow next door--plays an important part in his healing, as well. The only obvious lesson here is the one about not judging a book by its cover. Milo is a treasure." -- BOOKPAGE, c2010.
"The Moffats" by Eleanor Estes - "Who else but a member of the Moffat family could, during kindergarten recess, accidentally hitch a ride out of town on a boxcar? Or wind up trapped in the breadbox outside the delicatessen store? ...
This charming book has been making readers smile for over half a century. It reflects a gentler era, when the jolly chief of police had time to sit on the curb to hear a little girl's "crimes" and a little boy's escapade on a train was not cause for media panic, just a simple redirecting by the agreeable engineer. Eleanor Estes,... and Caldecott medalist Louis Slobodkin (Many Moons) make a lovely team in this story of benign humor and sweet times." (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter
"Ninth Ward" by Jewell Parker Rhodes - "Gr. 5-8. Born with a caul and gifted with the ability to see ghosts, Lanesha isn't one of the popular girls at her school, but that doesn't bother her. ... She has Mama Ya-Ya, who has cared for her ever since her mother died in childbirth, her Ninth Ward community, and her dreams of becoming an engineer. Mama Ya-Ya also has some supernatural abilities, and she has a premonition regarding Hurricane Katrina that she doesn't understand:..., Lanesha stores up water, food, flashlights, and candles to prepare for the worst. When the worst comes, she uses all of her abilities in math and physics to save herself, her friend TaShon, and their dog from the devastating floods that destroy her neighborhood but not her hopes for the future. Lanesha's heroic courage and resourcefulness achieve near- fabulist proportions as she figures out what she and her friends need to do to survive and escape the flood waters, and that is of course the point of the story--the importance of faith, intelligent action, and resilience in the face of crisis, even if some level of realism is sacrificed in the process. The details of the storm and its aftermath, however, are tangibly rendered, from the horrifying noise of the storm itself to the sunburn, the thirst, and the noxious character of the water that surrounds them as they await help for days on the roof of their home. The supernatural bits convey important elements of the culture, as do Lanesha's walks through her neighborhood before the storm, giving a strong sense of what was lost and what remains for a Ninth Ward girl." -- THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIV. OF ILLINOIS, c2010.
"War Horse" by Michael Morpurgo - "Gr. 5-8. ... this searing World War I novel reveals the unspeakable slaughter of soldiers on all sides fighting against people who are just like them. The story is told by an English farm horse, Joey, and, as in Cynthia Kadahota's 'Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam' (2007), the first-person narrative blends the animal's physical experience with what men say. On the farm, Joey has close ties to Albert, who is too young to join up when his dad first sells Joey to the army. Charging into battle under machine-gun fire, Joey is captured by the Germans, who train him to haul ambulances and guns. His reunion with Albert in battle is sentimental and contrived, but the viewpoint brings close the fury of the thundering guns, the confusion, and the kindness of enemies who come together in No Man's Land to save the wounded horse. Joey's ability to understand the language wherever he is--England, France, Germany--reinforces the novel's antiwar message, and the terse details speak eloquently about peace."-- Hazel Rochman. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2007.
"The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery" by Sandra Markle - "Gr. 4-6. In 1996, biologist Karen Lips revisited a high mountain forest in Panama, where she had studied Panamanian golden frogs four years earlier. On this trip, though, she found only dead frogs. After a pathologist discovered unusual sacs under their skin, a newspaper article about Lips' research led to communication with other scientists worldwide and the discovery that a fungus was killing off the frogs....Project Golden Frog collects healthy animals and keeps them in zoos and conservation centers until the fungus can be controlled and the frogs can be safely returned home. ... Notable for clarity, directness, and simplicity of writing and design alike, this volume, both handsome and fascinating, begins with the hunt for the frogs' killer and ends with the urgent need to create a safe environment for their return to the wild. Excellent photos, microscopic views, and maps illustrate the book. ...While few readers will take up Markle's suggestion to 'become the science detective who finally stops this killer,' many will absorb the notion that scientific research can be intrinsically interesting and vitally important. Pair this book with Turner's The Frog Scientist (2009)." -- Carolyn Phelan.AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011
"Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World" by Douglas Wood - "Gr. 5-8. ...This remarkably readable title describes a unique moment in time--the meeting of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House over the Christmas holidays. ...The tightly written narrative is filled with fascinating details, such as the fact that Churchill stomped up and down the halls of the White House at night in his nightgown. Anecdotes make the men human, but there is also much history here: what was planned, what was said, what was accomplished. It would be hard to overpraise Moser's striking artwork. Based on photos, the images capture the dramatic moments. There are many books about those who fought in WWII. This compelling offering gives a clue as to what it was like to be in the seat of power, watching the world burn and trying to stop it."-- Ilene Cooper. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
"Mysteries of the Komodo Dragon: The Biggest, Deadliest Lizard Gives Up Its Secrets" by Marty Crump - "Gr 4-7–... While Crump's lively text does not supply a stage-by-stage description of the animal's life cycle and physiology, it does give enough data to satisfy many readers and researchers. More importantly, it follows a long-term research project into the chemical makeup of “dragon drool” and the possible practical applications of the chemicals in this deadly substance to human pharmacology. Clear, color photos depict dragons from hatchlings to adults, scientists hiding in blinds and weighing catches, and zookeepers cuddling dragons with “gentle” dispositions. Conservation efforts underway to protect this rare and threatened species are included. ... A surefire selection in terms of appeal and information." –Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC
"Going Bovine" by Libba Bray - "Gr 8 Up. In this ambitious novel, Cameron, a 16-year-old slacker whose somewhat dysfunctional family has just about given up on him, as perhaps he himself has, when his diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jacob, 'mad cow' disease, reunites them, if too late. The heart of the story, though, is a hallucinatory--or is it?--quest with many parallels to the hopeless but inspirational efforts of Don Quixote, about whom Cameron had been reading before his illness. Just like the crazy--or was he?--Spaniard, Cam is motivated to go on a journey by a sort of Dulcinea. His pink- haired, white-winged version goes by Dulcie and leads him to take up arms against the Dark Wizard and fire giants that attack him intermittently, and to find a missing Dr. X, who can both help save the world and cure him. .... It's a trip worth taking, though meandering and message-driven at times. Some teens may check out before Cameron makes it to his final destination, but many will enjoy asking themselves the questions both deep and shallow that pop up along the way." --Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2009.
"Shelter" by Harlan Coben - "Gr. 9 Up. ... Sophomore Mickey Bolitar's happy, globe-trotting family returned to the States so that the teen could complete high school. Then Mickey sees his father killed in an accident and his bereft mother, who has taken to using drugs, enters rehab. Mickey goes to live with his Uncle Myron. On the way to school one morning, he encounters the Bat Lady, an old woman who lives in a dilapidated house, who tells him that his father is not dead, and disappears. Strangely enough, Ashley, a girl with whom Mickey has formed a relationship, also disappears. When he tries to find out what happened to her, he learns more than he bargained for about Ashley, the Bat Lady, and his own family....Myron Bolitar, the protagonist in Coben's adult mystery series, tries to take care of Mickey but doesn't really know how to be a parent. The boy has more freedom than most teens, giving him the opportunity to search for answers to his questions. Edgy and action-filled, the novel has interesting, likable characters, and it should fly off the shelves. The ending ties up some loose ends but leaves readers awaiting the sequel." -- Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2011.
"Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man" by Michael Chabon
"Blink & Gollie" by Kate DiCammillo
"Book! Book! Book!" by Deborah Bruss
"Bumble Ardy" by Maurice Sendak
"Doorbell Rang" by Pat Huchins
"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff
"Martha Speaks" by Susan Meddaugh
"Otis and the Tornado" by Loren Long
"A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea" by Michael Ian Black
"Prehistoric Pinkerton" by Steven Kellogg
"Splash" by Ann Jones
"Stand Straight, Ella Kate" by Kate Klise
"Who Stole Mona Lisa?" by Ruthie Knapp