Monday, November 24, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Fear the Amoeba

Fear the Amoeba (Squish #6)
by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm
Random House (Jul. 8, 2014)
Graphic Novel


Afraid to watch horror movies with his friend, Pod, Squish the amoeba feels better after learning that even comic book superheroes get scared sometimes. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • This graphic novel sympathetically and realistically depicts Squish’s two competing fears: first, of the frightening Water Bear movies his friends enjoy, and second, his worry that if he admits he is scared, he will “look, you know, lame in front of other kids.”
  • Squish’s outsized panic after seeing the first two movies is humorously conveyed in the fluid and energetic illustrations. Super Amoeba’s subplot also provides comic relief, as he is terrified of a dark mist paralyzing Small Pond.
  • Pod and Peggy, Squish’s friends, prove to be consistent and supportive in their reactions to his predicament. Pod doesn’t mind when Squish declines to see the new Water Bear sequel, and Peggy is thrilled to have someone with whom to watch Zweebort Beach Party!

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-5.

What Else You Should Read:

Monday, November 17, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Zero Degree Zombie Zone

The Zero Degree Zombie Zone
by Patrik Henry Bass
Scholastic (Aug. 26, 2014)


Fourth-grader Bakari Johnson is having a really bad day--class bullies Tariq and Keisha are mad at him, his best friend Wardell has nominated him for hall monitor, a pack of ice zombies from a frozen world are demanding he return the magic ring that Keisha has, and somehow he has to find a way to save the school.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Kids will enjoy this school story that includes familiar details such as class elections and library time, while offering an exciting sci-fi twist.
  • A fun middle-grade fantasy featuring African American characters.
  • Zombie-fighting action will keep readers engaged.
  • Jerry Craft’s expressive, bold-lined illustrations complement the story.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 3-6.

What Else You Should Read:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Lives of the Explorers

Lives of the Explorers: Discoveries, Disasters (and what the neighbors thought)
by Kathleen Krull
Houghton Mifflin (Aug. 26, 2014)


Presents a series of biographies of well-known adventurers traveling through the centuries and across the globe, whose curiosity and courage have led them to make discoveries in the world.

Why you'll love it:
  • Krull does not sugarcoat the history; the negative impacts of discovery upon native peoples are discussed, such as the violence resulting from Columbus’s expeditions.
  • Readers learn about these historical figures’ adventures while also getting a taste of each explorer’s personality and character.
  • Special attention is given to less fabled discoverers, including Mary Kingsley and Isabella Bird.

Who should read it:

Great for grades 4-6...and here's the discussion guide.

What else you should read:


Monday, November 3, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Nuts to You!

Nuts to You!
by Lynne Rae Perkins
Greenwillow Books (Aug. 26, 2014)
Chapter book (Adventure)


A squirrel trades a story for a taste of peanut butter and weaves a yarn about Jed, a squirrel who’s carried off by a hawk, and the friends who rescue him.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Some deeper themes may prompt readers to question their interactions with the natural world.
  • Readers, especially animal lovers and the environmentally minded, will relish the squirrels' adventures, as well as Perkins's laugh-aloud illustrations and equally witty footnotes.
  • The squirrel POV includes clever wordplay: power lines are “buzzpaths,” for example.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 3-6...and here are some 'squirrelebrations' on Perkins' website

What Else You Should Read: