Archive for September, 2013

Review of Infinity and Me, by Kate Hosford and Gabi Swiatkowska

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Infinity and Me

by Kate Hosford
illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska

Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, 2012. 36 pages.

I wish I’d had this book when my son was young and obsessed with Infinity. He liked to make up numbers “bigger than infinity,” like “zappazudus” and “H-aloppus.”

This picture book follows a little girl who looks up at the stars in the sky and thinks about infinity. Then she asks all the people around her how they think of infinity, and gets a different answer with each person.

The pictures imaginatively express the abstract ideas. We’ve got numbers going on forever, driving on an infinity symbol forever, population expanding, things lasting forever, cutting things in half forever, and more and more.

The culmination? Love for her Grandma “as big as infinity.”

This is a lovely picture book perfect for setting minds spinning and starting cozy conversations.

khosford.com
chocolateforgabi.com
lernerbooks.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Fun with Math for Parents and Preschoolers

Friday, September 20th, 2013

This last Saturday I got to do an Every Child Ready to Read Workshop (sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association), but I confess I made some changes.

The workshop, as prepared, was “Fun with Science and Math for Parents and Preschoolers.” The workshop I did? Well, I confess I left out the science and added lots of math activities.

Some friends on my Facebook page asked for details, and I thought it might be helpful for other librarians to know the adjustments I made. So I’ll just give the basic outline of the program. Imagine nice slides that came with the Every Child Ready to Read workshop.

As they came in, I gave every parent-child group a piece of paper and a box of crayons. I told them to write their child’s name in large letters so everyone could see. Some parents did this and some had their children do it. I let them keep the crayons and paper just in case the kids got restless during the talking-to-the-parents part.

We began with the welcome song, where we sing to each child. For example, if I were the child, it goes like this: “Sondy’s here today. Sondy’s here today. Everybody clap their hands. Sondy’s here today.” And we go all around the room. (I use this particular welcome song in all my programs because kids respond so well to their name. In this one, the addition of a writing activity with their parents and holding up the sign is perfect.)

What follows is a bit of an intro about Every Child Ready to Read. To warm up the audience, I mix it up by reading a book, and this time I chose Let’s Count Goats, with words by Mem Fox, and goats by Jan Thomas.

But the meat of ECRR2 is the five easy practices. These five easy practices, done often with your child, will help your child get ready to learn to read when they start school. What’s more, they’re fun. What’s more, they are also practices that will help your child learn math concepts. The beauty of them is that they use teachable moments and can be tailored to fit your child’s level.

The five easy practices are Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing.

I have a lot of material on Talking about math as you go through your day.

Here are some examples of some questions you can talk about during the day:

How many toys are on the floor? (A great way to suggest cleaning up: see who can guess how many toys are on the floor.)

How many cars are going by? When riding in the car you can extend this by counting cars you pass and subtracting cars that pass you.

Look! Can you find a “3”? (Play “I spy” with numbers.)

How many spoons do we need? (Setting the table is a math activity.)

Can you find a matching sock? (So is sorting laundry.)

I spy something shaped like a circle! (Identifying shapes is a math activity as well as a predecessor to learning the alphabet.)

How many jelly beans do you want?

After that question, I talk about how when my boys were little, before they had much of a numerical concept, I’d ask them how many candies they wanted. They learn quickly that way! This is a great lead in to reading the book How Many Jelly Beans? By Andrea Menotti and Yancey Labat.

Also under Talking about math, I mention that counting, measuring, sorting, and comparing are all math activities. I pass out a handful of foam shapes to each family and tell them to decide how to sort them. They usually choose by either color or shape. They help the child sort them. Then they should count how many shapes in each group and write down the numbers. The families did great with this.

On the third slide for Talking, I have a link to www.bedtimemath.org, and this time I was able to bring their new book for checkout! We read an example problem from the website. I talked about how I did this with my own younger son. The magic words that my son learned could extend bedtime forever were “Just one more math problem, Mommy, please!” I could not resist that plea!

And bedtime, which is indeed a lovely time for reading to your child, is also a cozy time for talking with your child. The problems on bedtimemath.org and in their book are nice problems you can talk about a little bit and work out an answer together. They come at three different levels, so you don’t have to stop when your child is small.

The next of the five easy practices is Singing.

Singing slows down language, so it helps kids learn the sounds in words. It also helps them learn numbers by putting them to music. At this point, we sing “Ten Little Beasties” (same tune as Ten Little Indians), first clapping with each number, and then trying to hold up the number of fingers as we sing. Then we do “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” with motions.

The centerpiece of the five easy practices, the most obvious one, is Reading.

Of course reading to your child will help them get ready to read! But did you know it will also help them get ready for math? I bring a cart full of books with mathematical concepts to the program. And at this point I read one of them. I like to use Quack and Count, by Keith Baker, because it also introduces the concept of addition, and it’s a fun story. The group this week spontaneously added a “Quack, Quack!” at the end of every page.

The fourth of the five easy practices is writing.

Here I talk about all the reasons to write numbers in life. Any time you write a list, you’re modeling this. Even if you don’t use numbers, if you write your grocery list in groups, that’s still a mathematical skill of sorting.
For a little activity here, I ask the parents to help the children count how many letters are in their name and write down the number on the paper next to their name.

The fifth of the five easy practices is playing.

For reading, dramatic play is so good. For math, I use this opportunity to put in a plug for board games. Candyland’s a great start, and you can’t beat Monopoly Jr for beginning addition and counting.

But playing is also at a much less formal level. Any measuring, counting, sorting, and comparing can be playing. At this point, we have all the families get in line in order of the number of letters in the children’s names from the front of the room to the back. This time, we went from BJ to Alexandra.

For another playing activity, we did a Venn diagram. I brought in a bucket of cars and trucks. I put two yarn circles on the floor. One circle was for red things. One circle was for cars. I put them on the ground so they overlapped. We figured out together where the different objects went. (“Is it red? Is it a car?”) I definitely should have used red yarn for the “red things” circle. But the kids had fun with it, anyway.

On another “Playing” slide, when it works, I show this clip from the Fred Rogers center.

This time, for some reason the link wouldn’t work. But it shows a family making beaded bracelets and necklaces using repeating patterns. Then we get the same idea reading the book Pattern Fish, by Trudy Harris.

Finally, we summarize the five easy practices. For a closing take-home activity, I pass out foam rectangles and half-sheets of paper. They can staple the paper inside the foam to make a counting book. They are welcome to decorate the outside with patterns using the foam sticky shapes. (We probably don’t have to have a craft at the end, since the program does go long, but I had the materials, and it’s a nice take-home reminder….)

So there you have it! Some simple ways to incorporate Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing… about Math!

I’ve done this program twice, and we’ve had a lot of fun both times. The parents get lots of ideas, and we all have fun together. It does run long, a whole hour, but the kids stay engaged, so I must be doing something right.

Any ideas and tips you have from using the Every Child Ready to Read Workshops? Or just ideas for Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing about Math with Preschoolers?

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Rose Under Fire

by Elizabeth Wein

Hyperion, New York, September 2013. 346 pages.
Starred Review

Rose Under Fire is one of the Advance Reader Copies I was happiest about snagging at ALA Annual Conference, and one of the first ones I read. Rose Under Fire is listed as a “companion novel” to Code Name Verity, and you don’t have to have read Code Name Verity to enjoy this novel. However, I recommend reading Code Name Verity first, for the simple reason that once you read Rose Under Fire, you’ll know who lives and who dies in the earlier book.

Rose Under Fire doesn’t have a killer plot twist like Code Name Verity. Although some of the characters we love appear, this is a very different book. It’s still about World War II, but this one is a concentration camp book.

Now, I’ve read an awful lot of concentration camp books. (As a child, I read The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, which Elizabeth Wein said in an interview she also read as a child and got her obsessed with Holocaust stories.) It’s not a cheery topic at all, and just when you think you know the story, this one comes along.

The fact is, Elizabeth Wein is a masterful writer. I love this book because I love the characters, which she makes come to life in her own unique way. This particular concentration camp book focuses on a group of Polish prisoners who underwent experimental surgery the Nazis performed on them and were then held at Ravensbrück.

But we start with a young American girl pilot name Rose Justice. She’s helping out in England, not flying in combat zones, but transporting planes. But then when she gets a chance to take a plane to France, something goes wrong, and she ends up captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück.

Rose is a poet, and her poems are worth bread to her fellow prisoners. And they find out each others’ stories.

Here they are talking about how they came to Ravensbrück:

“I landed my plane in the wrong place,” I said.

Róża snickered and leaped into the conversation. “I was arrested for being a Girl Scout. They arrested my whole Girl Scout troop in the summer of 1941. I was fourteen.”

I gaped at her.

“We were delivering plastic explosive for bombs,” she said. “You know, little homemade bombs to sabotage officials’ cars and throw in office windows. Most of us got released, but they kept the oldest — and I didn’t stand a chance, because I’d actually been stopped at a checkpoint and, well, it was pretty obvious I was smuggling explosive. You know how it is when you’re fourteen — you think you’re so much smarter than everybody else and nothing will ever hurt you. . . .” She trailed off, wiping her own bowl with her last crumb of bread, and then said in her offhand way, “They didn’t beat me, but they made me watch while they beat my mother, trying to get me to tell them who I was working for. Lucky for me I didn’t know. Someone always dropped off the stuff in our baskets with a note that said where to take it. They beat the crap out of our Girl Scout leader and then they shot her. So, 51498, what were you doing when you were fourteen?”

I think what made me love this book, once I’d gotten a little way in, was how richly the author draws the characters. They’re distinctive and individual. And they’re holding on to hope that one day they will let the world know what has happened.

elizabethwein.com
un-requiredreading.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/rose_under_fire.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on an Advance Reader Copy I got at ALA Annual Conference.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Guys Read: Other Worlds, edited by Jon Scieszka

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Guys Read

Other Worlds

Edited and with an Introduction by Jon Scieszka
Stories by Tom Angleberger, Ray Bradbury, Shannon Hale, D. J. MacHale, Eric Nylund, Kenneth Oppel, Rick Riordan, Neal Shusterman, Rebecca Stead, and Shaun Tan

with illustrations by Greg Ruth

Walden Pond Press, September 2013. 331 pages.
Starred Review

It’s no surprise that I particularly like this entry in the Guys Read series of stories written for guys. After all, Speculative Fiction is my favorite genre. You can tell from the title page that they got some distinguished talent to write for this book.

I was surprised to find one of my favorite authors, Shannon Hale, represented in the Guys Read series, with a story featuring a girl, no less. Maybe they’re making a point that an adventure story that happens to have a girl protagonist is good reading for guys, too? I like the way they slipped it in there, with no apology whatsoever. It’s about how she becomes a bouncer in a disreputable inn in a fantasy kingdom.

Most of the stories tend more toward science fiction than fantasy, though the lead-off story is a Percy Jackson story from Rick Riordan. Here’s hoping it might entice some kids into reading the whole book. The science fiction includes some silly (“Rise of the Roboshoes,” by Tom Angleberger) and some with that nice kicker ending with implications about earth (“The Scout,” by D. J. MacHale).

To be honest, the story I liked the least was the classic Ray Bradbury story included, “Frost and Fire.” But I wouldn’t argue for a moment with its inclusion. Including Ray Bradbury in a Science Fiction and Fantasy collection is absolutely right. And the story did remind me of ones my brothers liked when I was a kid. This book is intended for guys, after all. And I will happily try to find guys to hand it to.

I like what Jon Scieszka says in the Introduction:

All fiction and storytelling is answering that “What if . . .” question. But science fiction and fantasy go a step further: They bend the rules of reality. They get to imagine the “What if” in completely other worlds.

And that is why good science fiction and fantasy stories can be mind-expandingly fun.

There you have it. Pick up this book if you want some mind-expanding fun.

guysread.com
harpercollinschildrens.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/other_worlds.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on an advance review copy sent to me by the publisher.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of ZooBorns: The Next Generation

Monday, September 9th, 2013

ZooBorns: The Next Generation

Newer, Cuter, More Exotic Animals from the World’s Zoos and Aquariums

By Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland

Simon & Schuster, New York, 2012. 148 pages.

I booktalked this book at the local elementary schools when promoting the library’s Summer Reading program at the end of the school year. This was an example of a book that booktalked itself. All I had to do was show the pictures. Such cuteness! And in a few cases, such freakiness! (The aye-aye baby, for one, doesn’t look like it could possibly be real. I would guess they actually took a picture of a muppet if I didn’t know better.)

The book consists of pictures of baby animals from zoos and aquariums from all over the world. They’re babies. They’re cute. I only had to show a few, and I’d have a crowd of little girls after the talk, ooing and ahing over this book.

But it is also packed with lots of facts. Besides exotic animal species – Have you heard of the Polynesian tree snail? The South American coati? The epaulette shark? The klipspringer? – there are plenty of pictures and facts about all the animals. The book tells the particular animal’s name, species, home, and birthdate, as well as their status (whether endangered or not) and several facts about the species. It’s fascinating stuff, mixed in with a whole lot of cuteness.

zooborns.com
simonandschuster.com

I’m posting this review tonight in honor of Nonfiction Monday, hosted today at Wendie’s Wanderings.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/zooborns.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Sonderling Sunday – The Eldritch Snitch

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. Tonight I’m back with my stand-by, the book that started it all, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, The Order of Odd-Fish, by James Kennedy.

We left off on page 176 in the English edition, Seite 223 in the German edition. Sefino is just going to take Jo to the newspaper office of the Eldritch Snitch, which is Schauerlichen Petze in German. Roughly translated, that’s “Horrible Sneak.”

I’m sure I’ve done this one before, but it bears repeating:
“Chatterbox” = Plaudertasche

“severely” = nachdrücklich

“retraction” = Gegendarstellung (“opposite-representation”)

“first draft” = erster Entwurf

I like this:
“snippy” = schnippisch

“a touch of bravado” = einen Tick tollkühn

This goes more quickly in English:
“odds be damned” = auf die Wahrscheinlichkeit gepfiffen

“the thick of the fight” = heiβe Kampfgetümmel (“hot war-turmoil”)

“swashbuckler” = Draufgänger

“strolled” = schlenderte

“hive” = Bienenstock

“coves” = Schlupfwinkeln (“slip-nooks”)

“cubbyholes” = Kämmerchen (“little chambers”)

“chattering away relentlessly” = unaufhörlich klapperten

“hassle” = schikanieren

“nest of vipers” = Schlangengrube

“necktie” = Halstuch

“ascot” = Plastron

“Intimidator” = Einschüchterer

“bold” = gewagt

“frosted glass” = Milchglas (“milk-glass” I like that.)

“appetizers” = Appetithäppchen

“toothpick” = Zahnstocher

“battle of wits” = Schlacht der Geister

Oh, not as good:
“vigorous verbal vituperation” = heftigen, verbalen Schmähungen

“intricate insult” = bemerkenswerten Beleidigungen

“calamitous calumny” = verheerenden Verleumdungen

The insults are always good!
“ink-stained wretch” = tintenklecksender Unhold

“scandal-sniffing hack” = Skandale erschnüffelnder Schreiberling

“salacious slander” = vulgären Verleumdungen

“spluttered” = stammelte

“impertinence” = Unverschämtheit

“insufferable taste” = unerträglichen Geschmack

“every ounce of courage” = jedes Fünkchen Mut

“buffoon” = Hanswurst

That’s the end of Chapter 14!

Some good stuff in there! Don’t be a tintenklecksender Unhold or a Skandale erschnüffelnder Schreiberling! Drum up jedes Fünkchen Mut to join heiβe Kampfgetümmel like a Draufgänger. But whatever you do, don’t be schnippisch!

See you next week! And if you need to use these phrases in German next week, you can be so happy that you are prepared!

Review of In Our Mothers’ House, by Patricia Polacco

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

In Our Mothers’ House
By Patricia Polacco

Philomel Books, 2009. 48 pages.

This is a warm and wonderful book about a nontraditional family. The point isn’t that the family has two mothers. The point is that they have a lot of love.

Told from the perspective of the first adopted child, we hear about all the loving times in their big house, which hosts family gatherings and block parties and neighborhood festivals. The family has a black girl, an oriental boy and a red-haired Irish child, so they are diverse in more ways than one.

Patricia Polacco is a good storyteller, and she makes a story of this family. There’s lots of hugging in all the pictures, and people of all ages having fun.

There is one exception. The one person on the block who doesn’t like them (It doesn’t specify why, except that she says, “I don’t appreciate what you two are.”), Mrs. Lockner, is on the cartoonish side. But mostly it’s about family togetherness, complete with cooking, costumes, parties, special events. Patricia Polacco manages to tell these retrospective stories without stepping too far on the side of sentimentality.

Your kids will meet families like this. I appreciate that the book never makes a big deal about there being two mothers or mixed races in this family. It just tells about two marvelous people and the loving household they built.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/in_our_mothers_house.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Boris on the Move, by Andrew Joyner

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Boris on the Move

By Andrew Joyner

Branches (Scholastic), 2013. Originally published in Australia in 2011. 74 pages.

I don’t like it, but parents always expect us to keep our books organized by grade level. They come to the desk and ask, “Where are your books for second graders?” We have to explain that second graders fit a wide range of interests and reading abilities, and we give them some tips on how to look for books for their child (like bring the child with them).

However, I find I do appreciate the reading level information clearly stated on the cover of these new “Branches” books published by Scholastic. This one says on the back, “Appeals to K-2nd Graders” and “Reading Level Grade 2.”

Now, it does mean that you won’t ever catch a 3rd grader reading these books, which is a shame. But for a good book, full of pictures, to get a beginning reader used to chapters, this fills the bill.

In this first story about Boris, we’re introduced to Boris, his Mom and Dad, and his friends at school. Boris lives with his parents in an old bus, but the bus never goes anywhere. Boris dreams of adventure and complains to his parents. Then, one day, the bus moves!

But they don’t go to the jungle or on an African safari. Instead, they stop at Greater Hogg Bay Conservation Park. Not what Boris had in mind! But Boris manages to have an adventure anyway.

This is kid-sized fun that children can read to themselves. The book is not a graphic novel, but there are lots of pictures, and all the dialogue is written with speech bubbles instead of “he said” “she said.” Boris is a warthog, though like a child in every way. But pictures of warthogs acting like people are far more entertaining than pictures of people would be.

A quality addition to beginning chapter books.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/boris_on_the_move.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Dangerous, by Shannon Hale

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Dangerous

by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury, New York, April 2014. 390 pages.
Starred Review

Okay, I can’t wait any longer to post this. The book won’t come out until April 2014, so I hope I’m not being mean by tantalizing other fans. I know I’ll read it again when the published version comes out. But I did exclaim all over Twitter and Facebook about snagging this review copy on the opening night of ALA Annual Conference, so I think I should tell people that I indeed liked the book very much, and they will want to watch for it.

It’s no secret that I’m biased by the love I already have for Shannon Hale’s other books. I knew I’d enjoy Dangerous, and indeed I did.

This is not, however, a fairy tale retelling or a contemporary romance. Dangerous is a science fiction thriller, completely different from anything Shannon Hale has written before.

Shannon Hale fans like me will of course want to read it, so I’ll try to describe it for others who just want to figure out if they want to read this particular science fiction thriller.

I love the heroine, Maisie Danger Brown. She’s not your typical vanilla-flavored main character. Her mother is from Paraguay, so her family is bilingual. And she’s missing her right hand, using a prosthesis, which she calls Ms. Pinch. Maisie fills out an application found in a cereal box and wins a trip to Astronaut Camp. Once there, she meets Jonathan Ingalls Wilder, son of a billionaire, and explains to him her middle name:

“My parents were going to name me after my deceased grandmothers — Maisie Amalia — then in the hospital, it occurred to them that the middle name Danger would be funny.”

“So you can literally say, Danger is my middle –”

“No! I mean, I avoid it. It’s too ridiculous. It’s not like anyone actually calls me Danger. Well, my mom sometimes calls me la Peligrosa, which is Spanish for Danger Girl. But it’s just a joke, or it’s meant to be. My parents have to work really hard to be funny. They’re scientists.”

This description fit with Maisie’s constantly punning father. (Just like mine!)

Space Camp ends up far more than a typical summer camp. The first sentence of the book is “Every superhero has an origin story.” Sure enough, at camp, Maisie gets a chance to go up in the Space Elevator to an orbiting asteroid, and there a piece of alien technology takes over her body, turning her into a super-inventor. Four other teens get embedded with technology, each having varying superpowers, all revolving around Jonathan, the Thinker. Maisie doesn’t know how much her thinking about Jonathan is because she fell for him before the incident, or if it’s because of the embedded alien technology.

And it’s a wild ride from there. I don’t want to say too much, but there are some deaths, and it becomes apparent that the remaining team members can take on the alien token from someone who dies. Maisie doesn’t know who to trust, and she’s afraid her family will be used to get to her. Things come to a showdown. Will Maisie be killed for her token, or will she have to kill her friend?

And that’s not even the end. There’s also the question of why aliens sent these tokens to earth. Yes, it turns out the fate of all humanity is at stake, and it’s not at all certain that the alien superpowers will be enough.

When the Space Camp story began, I thought this was going to be a kid-finds-out-alien-plot story, similar to The Fellowship for Alien Detection. But it quickly got to be a much bigger story. When it became apparent that alien technology was taking over some kids, I expected to roll my eyes at the science descriptions. That didn’t happen either. I’m not saying it was water-tight, but it never seemed blatantly impossible. And, wow, with the team members fighting each other, there were shades of The Hunger Games. We also had plots among different adult groups, trying to control the alien technology, and more of Maisie having to figure out who to trust. All that besides the aliens set to take over earth.

There’s also a delicately-done romance. I’m not sure I wouldn’t have preferred Maisie to end up with the other guy, but I can’t complain that it didn’t seem realistic. I loved Maisie’s thinking when they’re alone, and he’d like her to go farther.

He started to kiss me again, and I relented, kissing back. But his words haunted me — I can’t help myself, as if he were constrained to want me. I wanted him to choose me, not kiss me mindlessly. Even so, a part of me would give up any choice to just let things happen. And that shocked me. I’d decided long ago what I would do and would not do, and here at the first opportunity, I was tossing out reason for instinct. If I couldn’t make a decision using my brain, then was I even Maisie anymore? Better to ache with want than to become an illogical girl I didn’t know, I thought.

Now, I must admit that I’m probably never going to enjoy a science fiction thriller as much as a fairy tale retelling. If anything, I think maybe she’s packed a little too much into this book. I feel like I’ll have to read it again to grasp all that happened. I’m not sure if I quite believe all the alien stuff.

But I can safely say that I enjoyed this book more than any science fiction thriller I’ve ever read. The personal touch of knowing Maisie Danger Brown, la Peligrosa, girl who’s grown up with a missing hand – that made me want to travel with her through life-and-death fights, threats by aliens and humans, wild superhero stunts, and the need to save the world.

squeetus.com
Bloomsbury.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/dangerous.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on an Advance Reader Copy I got at ALA Annual Conference.

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Review of Construction Kitties, by Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges and Shari Halpern

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Construction Kitties

by Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges
illustrated by Shari Halpern

Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt), New York, 2013. 32 pages.
Starred Review

I’m sorry, but this book is way too cute! Though it’s not saccharine. It’s an honest, worthy book about construction machines – with adorable kitties driving them.

We’ve got standard Construction Book pages:

Into the loader.
Onto the excavator.
Dig that dirt!

Then at lunch time:

Out with their pails.
Tasty sardines.
Cool milk.
Tummies are full.
Construction Kitties purr and rest.

And what are those Construction Kitties building? What could be better? A playground! The endpapers show the workers now playing with many smaller kittens on the newly constructed playground.

Here’s another one that’s going straight into my next Baby Storytime. Construction machines. Kitties. What’s not to like?

mackids.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.