Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Princess in Black

By Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Phem.

“Princesses do not run. Princesses do not stuff frilly pink dresses into broom closets. Princesses do not wear black. And princesses most definitely do not slide down secret chutes and high-jump castle walls” but Princess Magnolia is not just any princess, she is the Princess in Black! With the help of her trusty pony, Frimplepants, Magnolia fights off the monsters that threaten the kingdom of Monster Land. Since fighting monsters is hardly proper behaviour for a princess, Magnolia must do it all undercover, making sure that Duchess Wigtower never finds out her secret. A proper super-hero-princess with a secret identity!

This is a great book written for children that are starting to read on their own. The words are large, the sentences are short, the vocabulary is simple, and the pages are covered with wonderfully coloured illustrations. This story bends gender bias by giving us a heroine who is out saving the world, dressed all in black like Zorro, while also enjoying pink dresses and tea time.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

A Ball for Daisy

By Christopher Raschka

This is a picture book, only pictures. Author/illustrator Chris Raschka tells a wonderful tale of a dog and her favorite toy, a ball. Through only pictures readers are treated to a sweet story about Daisy the dog. Daisy loves her ball and does everything with it. From playing to napping, Daisy’s ball is her best friend. One day while out for a walk another dog gets a hold of her ball...and it POP’s! Daisy is sad and walks home missing her ball. The next day while out for her walk she meets up with the same dog and they have a new ball for her. Daisy is so happy. With the use of bright colours, simple shapes and a water colour paint technique Raschka has created a lovely story. Children are sure to enjoy this sweet tale, A Ball for Daisy.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Metro Dogs of Moscow

by Rachelle Delaney

http://yourlibrary.bibliocommons.com/item/show/451421090_the_metro_dogs_of_moscowMoscow, a city of architecture and history is home to JR, a Jack Russell Terrier who lives there with his owner George. George works for the Canadian embassy and JR has travelled all over the world with George and has some personal opinions on his current residence. This city is busy like Paris and that means no off-leash exploration for JR, who being a terrier is often tempted to explore because of his keen nose. Of course, once JR escapes out the apartment window and tastes freedom nothing can stop him from making friends with Moscow’s stray dogs. They show JR the sights and sounds of Moscow, including how to navigate the metro system and steal delicious Kroshka Kartoshka's (stuffed potatoes) from unsuspecting humans. As his friendship with the stray dogs grows, so does his loyalty to his new friends and when some of the stray dogs begin to disappear, it’s up to JR and his friends to find out where they went. JR enlists his embassy dog friends to help with the search and they travel via foot and metro to collect clues in the disappearances.

Almost Home

Joan Bauer

                     "They can take away your house, but they can't take away your hope."

Sugar Mae Cole loves to write poetry to express her questions and frustrations about life. Payments on her family home have been late and now they have to move out because the bank has seized their home. Suddenly, Sugar Mae and her mom are faced with the reality of homelessness. They don’t have much family left and Sugar Mae’s father is an unreliable man who only visits if he needs money. On top of that, Sugar comes to care for a puppy she names Shush. When her mom has a nervous breakdown, Sugar Mae is sent into foster care. She is able to keep Shush with her but the uncertainty of the future and her concern for her mother weigh heavily on her mind. Sugar Mae must grow up fast and help her mom keep everything together before they lose more stability in their lives. While things may be looking down, Sugar Mae is able to rely on her puppy, a supportive teacher and foster parents to help her through this tough time.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

SuperCat vs. the Chip Thief

Jeanne Willis

http://yourlibrary.bibliocommons.com/item/show/454409090_supercat_vs_the_chip_thiefHe’s not your average kitty-cat. He is Supercat! After licking a left-over oven chip from a moldy sock, Tiger the cat develops super powers. Now he can reach new heights, strum the guitar and speak English, French and Spanish. When his best mate James (a human boy) finds out they decide to keep his new abilities a secret. They will both pair up and become the latest superhero team fighting crime in their London neighbourhood. Not a moment too soon news arrives that potatoes have been infected with a plague and soon the world will run out of potatoes. It is up to Supercat and James to find out who created the potato plague and rescue the remaining potatoes before there are no more for potato crisps and fish and chips.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Shouldn't You Be In School?

Shouldn't You Be in School?
Shouldn't You Be In School?
   by Lemony Snicket

Whenever adults ask the inevitable question, “Shouldn’t you be in school?”, Lemony Snicket tells them he is an “apprentice”  in a “special program”.  He and his chaperone Theodora S. Markson are trying to solve the mystery of a series of arsons that have occurred in the town of Stain’d by the Sea.  They ask questions around town until Theodora proclaims to have solved the mystery and leaves Snicket alone so that she can have some girl time with Sharon Haines of the Department of Education.

Meanwhile, more fires are burning, the hydrants have been tampered with, and it becomes obvious that Sharon Haines is involved somehow with the villainous Hangfire who is likely behind the arsons.

Confused?  Wait until you meet Snicket’s list of “associates”, many of whom are children or teens.  There’s Kellar Haines, Sharon’s son, who works at the Department of Education.  There’s the striking Ellington Feint (could she be involved too?).  There’s Jake Hix, a chef, and his sweetheart, Cleo Knight, a brilliant chemist.  And there’s Moxie Mallahan, a journalist who never stops typing.  

Again, most adults wonder, “Shouldn’t you be in school?”  Instead, these intrepid children, none of whom attend school, band together to solve the mystery that is destroying the town. 

From the All The Wrong Questions series, this fascinating mystery book will certainly keep you guessing.  Grades 4-7

Wake Up Missing

Wake up Missing
Wake Up Missing
  by Kate Messner

Cat has sustained a serious concussion and has severe symptoms.  Standard treatments have been ineffective, so Cat is sent to a head injury clinic located in the middle of a Florida swamp.

When she meets Dr. Ames he seems friendly and approachable.  She dares to hope that she can be cured.  A handful of other kids are at the clinic and their treatment seems to be working at first.  But Trent, one of the other patients, hasn’t been seen for a while, and Kaylee never comes out of her room.  What’s going on?

As the children begin to ask questions, they discover that they are the subjects of a secret science experiment. Dr. Ames can indeed cure concussion symptoms, but he is also interested in manipulating the kids’ DNA.  His computer files show that he has access to the DNA codes of famous long dead scientists.  What is he really up to?

Fear and suspicion grow amongst the patients as the doctors announce they will be moved to another location.  Unable to contact their parents for help, they are relying on Sawgrass Molly, the airboat driver who brought them to the clinic.  But can they really count on her?  Or will they have to rely on themselves?  As they embark on their adventure to be rescued they encounter drug runners, a possible connection to a U.S. senator and even a murder.

The author describes this book as a “science thriller”.  Indeed, science, adventure and government conspiracy combine to make this novel a real page turner.  There is some mature subject matter in the book.  Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

By James Paterson

James Paterson has partnered up with Adam Sadler to bring us the Daniel X series. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X is the first in the series. This is a fast paced read with James Paterson’s traditional short chapters helping the story fly by. Daniel X is the son of Alien hunters from the planet Alpar Nok. They are living on earth and helping to protect the universe from the "Outer Ones." At the age of 3 Daniel X’s parents are killed by the Prayer and Daniel X narrowly avoids the same fate. Daniel X is now 15 years old and has taken on his parents mission to protect the human race from evil aliens. Critics have said that Daniel X would be a wonderful addition to the M.I.B. and I have to agree.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything
by Krishnaswami, Uma
Dini and Maddie have a lot in common and are the best of friends.  Dini introduces Maddie to Bollywood movies and they both are great fans of the beautiful singer/actress Dolly Singh. Dini views her life as though she is a director with a script in-hand. Suddenly Dini's mother announces that the family is moving to India for two years because of her new dream job. At first the two friends are devastated, but then they start to hope that Dini may get to meet Dolly in person while in India. What a plot turn that would be! Dini writes Dolly a letter, even though she does not have Dolly's address, hoping that it will reach her regardless with a little luck and a few extra stamps. In a series of coincidences worthy of any Bollywood movie, Dini manages not only to meet Dolly, but also to help her favourite star out. This book is a fun girly read, with humor and bubbly characters that shed youthful insights on friendship, moving, Bollywood and Indian culture.  Recommended Reading: Ages 9-12