Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Books You May Have Missed that Are Worth Reading

12 Recently Published Books that Deserve a Second Look

I was recently told that parents don't read book reviews for their children's books. They want to know about new gadgets and gizmos that make their parenting lives easier. Well... I'm here to say books are the original gadget. A good book can calm a crying baby, entertain a bored toddler, teach a reluctant youth, safely give preteens and teens the adventures they crave, and offer a bonding experience for parents and kids off all ages. With all of that in mind I have picked a dozen books you and your children may have overlooked throughout the past year – but they definitely are worth reading.

Best for Ages 3 - 7 

The Little Snowplow
By Lora Koehler | Illustrated by Jake Parker 
 If you crossed Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel with Katy and the Big Snow, you’d come pretty close to this fun tale from debut author Lora Koehler. The Little Snowplow follows a small blue snowplow as he joins the big trucks of the Mighty Mountain Road Crew. The seasoned crew questions the little guy’s abilities, which just motivates him to train more.

This wonderful tale of hard work and perseverance also covers humility and forgiveness.  The Little Snowplow will make a good addition to story time collections containing Little Toot and The Little Engine that Could.
What’s good: Children will love the action and friendly illustrations.                       

            Grumpy Bird
            By Jeremy Tankard
            This adorable board book is all about finding the fun in every day life. Bird discovers that waking up on the wrong side of the bed doesn’t have to dictate how the rest of your day proceeds. When Bird wakes up grumpy he’s in no mood to eat, play or even fly. Instead, he starts walking. Before long Bird meets Sheep who decides to join him on the walk. Why? Because Sheep thinks walks are nice. This goes on and on – Rabbit, Fox and others join Bird. Pretty soon walking turns into playing with friends and Bird realizes he’s not grumpy anymore. That’s the power of friendship.
            What's good: Illustrations that will engage and entertain toddlers.

Please Say Please!
By Kyle T. Webster
            What’s the magic word? In this lively new picture book
from Kyle T. Webster the word is “Please.” When you want
something how do you get it? Do you shout and say I want?
Or, do you show some manners and ask nicely? On the first
page of this book a young girl begins by shouting “I want a
fish.” When an older gentleman says “Please say please and
I’ll grant any wish,” she changes her tune. This happens over
and over again – parents will relate to that – until the girl
finally gets the hang of using her manners and nicely asks
for a giant.|
The text is short and flows nicely. The illustrations are highly engaging –the characters are a retro black and white, but the background scenes are bright
and lively. 
            What's good: Focused on one word, the lesson is easy and entertaining.

            The Lost House
            By B. B. Cronin
            Seek and find books are easy to find – ironic isn’t it? I recently read a lost and found book I can only describe as a hidden treasure. The Lost House is an illustrative tour de force. Grandad has promised to take his two grandchildren (all anthropomorphic bulldogs) to the park. Before they can leave Grandad needs to find a few things – socks, glasses, pocket watch, umbrella, and even his teeth. They may never find everything, so you need to help. Be aware, each room and everything in it appears in one bold color. The rooms are packed full of whimsy, eccentricity and household items. The Lost House is beautifully crafted and so visually engaging even older children will want to help find the lost items.
            What's good: Detailed illustrations that will appeal to curious people everywhere.

Best for Ages 8 - 12

Fortune Falls
By Jenny Goebel
            What would you do if you were born into a town where everything was decided by luck? Those of you who are lucky might find easy success. But what happens if you are unlucky? Sadie was born in Fortune Falls. She is smart, loyal to family and friends and very brave. But as her luck test approaches nothing seems to go her way. And, if she fails the test they’ll send her away so she won’t endanger those around her. Fortune Falls explores both good and bad luck while digging into friendships, ghost stories and family dynamics. Can a girl change or create her own luck? You decide after you read this humorous adventure in superstition.
            What's good: Intriguing plot with a well-developed, likable hero.

Click Here to Start                                                                     
By Denis Markell          

Have you ever played an “escape the room” game? For those of you who haven't, think brain teaser and scavenger hunt rolled into one mysterious game. This is the engine that propels the narrative development of Click Here to Start.

Ted Gerson, is a half Jewish, half Japanese-American boy living in La Purisma, 
California. He loves “escape the room” games and holds all the records for solving them. When his great uncle dies, this 12-year-old is joined by two friends in a real life escape the room mystery that could lead to a treasure lost since the end of WWII. Propelled by puzzles, character development, WWII historical intrigue, and a mysterious bad guy, Click Here to Start is a real page turner. Humor suspense and puzzles highlight this story.What's good: Adventure and mysteries that keep you guessing until the end.

             Mister Max (Series)
By Cynthia Voigt
This three book series follows young Max, a preteen left alone when his famous are kidnapped by and take overseas. Max shows his independence, maturity and intelligence by thriving on his own as the Solutioneer. He is essentially a private detective that focuses on solutions to issues rather than solving a crime. These books are chock full of setting descriptions, plot twists, character development and suspense. Each book stands on it's own but they definitely work best as a series. Even with the mysteries, suspense and adventure these stories remain light and airy – at least until you arrive at the second half of the last book. Then the story turns a bit dark in an exploration of totalitarianism and slavery. all three books will hold a young reader's attention and make them eager to read the next installment.
What's good: Interesting, characters, settings and a clear storytelling voice.

By Gordon Korman
            Korman brings his signature sense of humor to this
story about a 
true slacker, Cameron Boxer. He only
cares about one thing
 – gaming. Cameron is so
involved in gaming that he nearly burns his house
down while he's in it. It’s this pivotal event that
leads to the creation of a fictional school club –
Positive Action Group (PAG). Unfortunately for
Cameron the club soon becomes very real and
very popular.
            Told from multiple points of view, Korman
explores preteen and teen social structures,
motivations, friendships and more in this humor filled novel about life in a small town. 
Korman and Clements fans will not be disappointed.What's good: Humorous characters and fast-paced events.

Best for Ages 12 and Up

Lawless (Series)
By Jeffrey Salane
           The Lawless series follow teen M. Freeman as she heads to a
boarding school for spies  – evil spies  – then joins with a ragtag group of spies and misfits to save the world. And through it all M is trying to find out how her mother and father who passed away fit into everything that is unfolding around them. Suspend all sense of reality and enjoy. LawlessJustice and Mayhem are each fun reads on their own but, to emotionally invest in the characters you'll need to start your reading with book one. Mystery, action, danger and suspense keep the pages turning. Hold on tight and see of you can keep up with the plot twists.
            What's good: Fast-paced, unpredictable action with a touch of humor.

Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team
By Daniel O’Brien | Illustrated by Winston Rowntree
            Who would you pick if you were assembling a dream team of
presidents to stave off a zombie apocalypse? That essentially
is the underlying theme to this original take on presidential
history. Daniel O’Brien hits a home run with this imaginative
book and keeps teens reading – and laughing – while they
learn about every president from George Washington to
Ronald Reagan. Sorry, no living presidents were included
in this edition so you will have to wait for another edition
to include Carter or any of the presidents after Reagan.
            What's good: Factual history wrapped in humor, sarcasm
and graphic novel-styled illustrations.

The Darkest Hour
By Caroline Tung Richmond
            It’s 1943 in Nazi-occupied France and a group of girls might be the best weapon the allies have. Covert Ops is a highly, top-secret organization of teen girls who were recruited to be spies for the allies. Based in Paris they infiltrate the enemy, gain valuable knowledge and remove threats if necessary. When the group gets wind of a Nazi plan that could change the course of the war, they jump into action. It's fast paced and fraught with danger. Double agents could be in play and when things begin going awry our 16-year-old heroine has to find a way to save the day – even after being captured.
            The Darkest Hour is a page turner with little downtime for breathing. The only drawback is a slightly rushed ending. If you like historical fiction and spy thrillers, this one is for you.
            What's good: Never a dull moment in this spy thriller.

            Running Girl
            By Simon Mason
            Garvie Smith is a highly-underachieving genius – crazy high IQ,
crazy low grades. Garvie doesn’t
see any point in attending
classes or doing pretty much anything else. But when his former
Chloe Dow, is found dead at a local pond he put's his
IQ to work solving the mystery. Seemingly a step ahead of the
police, Garvie is Sherlockian in 
his approach. Everything is a
puzzle that can be solved with logic and deduction.
peripheral characters such as the ultra-reserved
Sikh police detective and the hulking, Chloe-obsessed 
add depth, dimension and humor to this dark mystery. Grounded
in reality, the plot is suspenseful 
and full of twists that keep even the savviest readers guessing.Whats good: Smart, dry-witted dialogue wrapped around an engaging mystery. 

No comments:

Post a Comment