Friday, September 2, 2011

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Elementary Edition

book cover of Blackout by John Rocco
by John Rocco
Disney/Hyperion 2011


Neighbors gather on the roof after the power goes out on a hot night in the city and start having so much fun not everyone is happy when the lights go back on.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Rocco’s lustrous, animation-quality artwork somehow manages to get richer the darker it gets, and features one of the silkiest skies since Van Gogh's Starry Night.
  • Page composition effectively intermingles boxed pages and panels with double-page spreads, generating action. Brilliantly designed, with comic bits such as a portrait of Edison on a wall and the cat running from a hand shadow of a dog.
  • In the most poignant spread, the family sits on the stoop, eating ice cream: "And no one was busy at all." It's a rare event these days.
book cover of Time To Sleep by Steve Jenkins
Time to Sleep
by Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011


Illustrations and text show the sleeping habits of various animals.

Why You'll Love It:
  • The illustrations are rendered in torn- and cut-paper collage, with each animal is set against a white background.
  •  Fascinating behaviors are detailed with explanations, such as the "white stork sleeps in taking a series of naps that last just a few seconds each." 

    book cover of Aggie Gets Lost by Lori Ries
    Aggie Gets Lost
    by Lori Ries
    Charlesbridge 2011


    Ben is heartbroken when his puppy Aggie goes missing while the two are playing fetch in the park, but he is determined to find his lost pet.

    Why You'll Love It:
    • With clear and simple language, three short chapters, and abundant artwork that details the action, Aggie and Ben’s latest adventure is sure to be a favorite among beginning readers.
    • The short, succinct sentences are easy to understand, while they also reveal Ben’s emotions: “Did I pet her enough? Did I tell Aggie she was a good dog? I cannot sleep. I am too sad to sleep.”
    • Frank W. Dormer’s charming, stylized artwork authentically captures the lively jaunts to the park as well as Ben’s sorrow while Aggie is missing.
    • Careful observers will enjoy noticing the skunk in the illustrations well before he makes his mark on the story and will giggle all the more to see everyone holding their noses after Aggie is found.

    book cover of Lost! A Dog Called Bear by Wendy Orr
    Lost! A Dog Called Bear
    by Wendy Orr
    Henry Holt 2011


    When Logan's dog runs away as he and his mother are moving to a new home after his parents separate, a girl named Hannah, who longs for a dog of her own, finds him.

    Why You'll Love It:
    • A warm tale that is filled with kid appeal. The main characters’ parallel stories pleasingly intertwine, and it is gratifying that the story ends happily for all involved.
    • Wendy Orr’s ability to convey emotions simply makes the story rich and satisfying. Logan feels “like the turkey’s wishbone being pulled apart after Thanksgiving dinner” as he deals with his parents’ separation. And Hannah’s feelings are often reflected in her ponytail, which “flips” and “quivers” when she’s happy, and “mopes” when she’s upset.
    • Short chapters and frequent illustrations make this early chapter book a perfect choice for newly independent readers. 

      book cover of Fractions = Trouble by Claudia Mills
      Fractions = Trouble
      by Claudia Mills
      Farrar Straus Giroux


      Wilson Williams does not want anyone to know his parents have hired a tutor to help him with his math, but the secret could spell disaster for his friendship with Josh.

      Why You'll Love It:
      • Familiar school concerns, nicely resolved, make this another excellent selection for early chapter-book readers.
      • The short chapters have believable dialogue and plenty of reader appeal.
      • Karas' scratchy grayscale drawings, one to a chapter, support the story.


      Marie Cloutier said...

      fractions = trouble could be the story of my whole math education, LOL.

      Alyce said...

      Blackout looks like a good one - especially the part about everyone not being busy.

      Veens said...

      I really like all the titles ou mention here :) Esp. the last 2 :)

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