Dear America: Early Sunday Morning by Barry Denenberg

•April 27, 2007 • 1 Comment

Early Sunday Morning

Dear America: Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows
by Barry Denenberg
bk – 0439328744

I had prepared myself for the fact that I wasn’t going to like this book. What I didn’t expect was that I’d really like this book. The diary style writing was easy to follow and I enjoyed reading through the eyes of a kid. I also liked that the writer took the time to research the time period and historical events he was writing about. Even though Amber is a fictional character, the author respects the reader enough to make the events historically accurate.

This is the diary of Amber Billows. Her father is a journalist and his job requires the family to move quite a bit. They’ve lived in places like Washington DC, New York City and Boston. Now they are moving to Hawaii.

Amber’s father talks to a lot of politicians and other people in powerful positions, which includes having lots of dinner parties and golf games. Amber’s mom is forced to host some of the dinner parties and Amber is forced to attend them. Neither like to do this, but they do it anyway.

Amber finds a new friend named Kame, who’s parents moved to Hawaii from Japan. They really become close friends, but then the worst possible thing happens. The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, which is a harbor in Hawaii, and very near where Amber is living. When this happens, life changes drastically for Amber, for all the Japanese Americans and for the United States.

Read the book to find out what happens to Amber and the United States after the bombing!


Guess What? by Mem Fox

•April 16, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Guess What
Guess What?
by Mem Fox
ISBN – 0152004521
copyright 1990
copies in MCLS – 9 (picture book)

The first thing I was hit by were the illustrations. I guess that would be a good thing, since it is a picture book. The illustrations are very detailed. So detailed, in fact, that I decided to keep track of all the commercial images I could find:
Kellogg’s Special K
Johnson’s Baby Powder
Emu Bitter Beer
Heinz Ketchup (err… plasma)
Keen’s Mustard
Cadbury Cocoa
Continental Bacon
Sunbeam Mixmaster
…as well as various other items that were easily recognizable, but renamed something slightly different. This might not seem like a big deal, but in an age when advertising is everywhere, I would prefer not to have ads in my picture books.

Other than that, the illustrations are very detailed and interesting, however I wasn’t sure whether or not the illustrations would be too scary for the intended age group, which I think would be 3 – 6 years. School Library Journal has reviewed the book, which you can check out here, and recommend it for grades 2 – 4. I think that the text is probably way too simple for that age group, and they would get bored very quickly with it. Unfortunately, the images are probably more appropriate for grades 2 – 4, since they are so detailed and a bit on the dark side. Had the pictures been a little less realistic, they would have been more appropriate.

The book itself was cute. It was a simple book aimed at 3 – 6 year olds. The text is a very basic typical question and answer, which is why I think older kids would be bored by it.

The book can’t seem to decide who its audience is, which in my opinion, means it has no audience.

Scary Stories

•April 15, 2007 • 1 Comment

I’m part of a librarian committee which will create a book list of scary books for kids. Here’s a list of the books that I need to read for the committee including copyright and how many copies are owned in the Monroe County Library system, which is mostly for my benefit. I will eventually be reviewing every single on of these books. So look forward to a good scare!

If you have any scary books that you loved and would like to suggest that we add it to our list, feel free to email me, or just leave a comment! We always love suggestions!

j = juvenile (kids)
ya = young adult
bocd = book on cd
bot = book on tape
LP = large print

Picture Books

  • Boy and the Ghost by Robert San Souci
    • copyright 1989 – copies – 20 (picture book) – 6 (j fiction)
  • Cold Feet by Cynthia De Felice
    • copyright 2000 – copies – 13 (picture book)
  • Guess What by Mem Fox
    • copyright 1990 – copies – 9 (picture book)
  • Scarlett Angelina Wolverton-Manning by Jacqueline Ogburn
    • copyright 1994 – copies – 12 (picture book)
  • Tailypo: A Ghost Story by Joanna Galdone
    • copyright 1977 – copies – 33 (picture book) 9 (picture book & tape)
  • Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg
    • copyright 1992 – copies – 23 (picture book) 11 (j fiction)
  • Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
    • copyright 2003 – copies – 18 (picture book)

Children’s Fiction

  • Dead Man in Indian Creek by Mary Hahn
    • copyright 1990 – copies – 33 (j fiction)
  • Ghost in the Mirror by John Bellairs
    • copyright 1993 – copies – 31 (j fiction) 4 (j bot)
  • Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp
    • copyright 1969 – copies – 9 (j fiction)
  • Kate Culhane by Michael Hague
    • copyright 2001 – copies – 18 (j fiction)
  • Lucy Dove by Janice Del Negro
    • copyright 1998 – copies – 13 (j fiction)
  • Tarot Says Beware by Betsy Byars
    • copyright 1995 – copies – 28 (j fiction) 1 (j lp) 4 (j bot)

Children’s AND Teen Fiction

  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    • copyright 2002 – copies – 34 (j fiction) 28 (ya fiction) 3 (j bocd) 4 (ya bocd) 1 (ya bot)
  • Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney
    • Book 1 – Revenge of the Witch
      • copyright 2005 – copies – 5 (j fiction) 11 (ya fiction)
    • Book 2 – Curse of the Bane
      • copyright 2006 – copies – 2 (j fiction) 7 (ya fiction)
  • Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn
    • copyright 2004 – copies – 16 (j fiction) 4 (ya fiction)

Teen Fiction

  • Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan
    • copyright 1971 – copies – 25 (ya fiction)
  • Third Eye by Lois Duncan
    • copyright 1984 – copies – 33 (ya fiction)

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

•April 7, 2007 • 9 Comments

by Stephanie Meyer
BOOK ISBN – 0316160172
BOCD ISBN – 030728090X
2) New Moon – 0316160199
3) Eclipse – 0316160202

I listened to Twilight, and at first I wasn’t sure if I liked the reader. Its a hard thing to explain too, because she wasn’t exactly annoying, just not… oh I don’t know.

However, once I got into it, I wanted to stay in my car to finish the whole thing. I couldn’t wait to hear what happened to Bella and her love interest, Edward.

Bella is forced to move to Forks, where her father lives, because her mom is moving to Florida with her new boyfriend. She moves from arid, bright and sunny Phoenix, Arizona t0 gloomy wet and depressing Forks, Washington. Bella is afraid that she will hate it in Forks… and at first she does. Most of the people are typical, normal “Jessica”s and “Derek”s. They seem interested, but stand-offish. She’s not really sure that she really wants anything to do with them anyway.

Then she meets Edward.

He’s dreamy and mysterious. And he doesn’t seem to want anything to do with her. They have Biology together and he asks to be moved to another class.

Bella thinks that he hates her.

And then she finds out the truth…

Read Twilight to find out what happens! You’ll LOVE IT!

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

•April 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

by Scott Westerfeld
ISBN – 0-689-86538-4

We just finished this book for this month’s book discussion. At first I tried getting into the book, but I fell asleep a couple times and then I decided that I would rather play on my PSP than read. However, once I got past the first couple chapters, it started getting interesting. Interesting enough, in fact that I read the whole thing (all 425 pages) in one sitting. It was interesting, and some of the themes got me thinking about how this could someday be our story.

So here’s the idea. When your born, you are called a littlie. You live with your parents and go to a little bitty school with other littlies, until you turn twelve (I think its twelve) then you become an ugly. Uglies would be us… unsymmetrical faces, pimples, fat deposits, crooked noses, eyes too close together, too short, too tall, too something. You get the idea. So you spend four years with other uglies, until your sixteenth birthday.

When you turn sixteen, you go through the operation.
The operation makes you a pretty. However being pretty is not without a cost.

Tally’s friends have all become pretties. She’s all alone and bored, so one night she goes to New Pretty Island to find her friend Peris. Things don’t go exactly as planned and she has to escape. On the way, she meets another Ugly named Shay. They become really close, causing pranks and mayhem. Shay even teaches Tally to use a hoverboard.

Then she takes her outside of the city, to Rusty Town. And then Shay tells Tally her plans, and later she disappears.

Tally is given decisions to make. But the decisions are not ones she wants to make… Read the book and finds out what happens! Maybe you’ll like it as much as I did and read it all in one day!

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

•March 3, 2007 • Leave a Comment


by Scott Westerfeld
ISBN – 159514031X

Okay, I just need to premise this review with this Unshelved cartoon, of which you can find the original here. Thanks to Unshelved for letting me post this!

Peeps Cartoon

This is by no means your typical vampire book…

Cal gets infected by a parasite that makes his senses stronger: smell, taste, touch, hearing and sight. He’s also stronger and he loves meat. But he’s not really a vampire. He’s a kind of half vampire, with all of the “cool” characteristics of a vampire without needing to suck blood and hide underground. Unfortunately, he’s a carrier, which means… no girlfriend. No kissing, no nothing. He so much looks at a girl, he could practically turn her into a vampire.

Cal spends his days going to college as a biology major. Which is why every other chapter is wonderfully detailed in descriptions of parasites great and small. Really, its pretty disgusting. The time that he’s not is school is spent hunting down all his past girl friends, all of whom are vampires now. He also has to hunt down the girl who originally made him a carrier. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know her last name, where she lives and hardly even what she looks like. All he knows is that her name is Morgan. This is why you should not have one night stands… they could make you a vampire.

Wait to you see what happens when he finds Morgan. Things get really interesting then.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

•February 28, 2007 • 1 Comment

Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray
bk – 0689875347
audio – 080722376X
grades 9 +

You’re 16 years old, and you’ve just told your mother that you hate her as the two of you stand in the middle of a busy road. Sounds typical enough, right?

Now imagine that you’re a Brit in India in the late late 1800s, early 1900s. Little different, right? Now imagine that you’ve become lost in the middle of India and just as you start panicking, you have a vision of your mother killing herself as a black shadowy evil thing tries to get her first.

This is life for Gemma, the main character in A Great and Terrible Beauty. After her mother dies, Gemma is sent to England to boarding school. There she must find a way to deal with cliques, French class, the new powers she has found she has and the evil which has followed her from India.

You must must must listen to this book! The narrator is engaging, and she sweeps you right into the story. You can almost feel Gemma’s fear and anger as she’s put into certain situations. Unlike some narrators, who feel its necessary to add voices or fake accents, Joanna Wyatt, speaks naturally.

I recommend this to everyone who wants to get caught up in a good historical fantasy.