Mar 11, 2015

Lulu and the cat in the bag - Hilary McKay

Lulu and the cat in the bag - McKay, Hilary

Summary: "When a mysterious bag is left on Lulu's doorstep, the last thing her grandmother expects to be in it is a cat--a huge, neon orange cat. But Lulu knows this cat doesn't mean any harm and in fact it needs a lovely new home"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
When an enormous orange cat is left in a bag on Lulu's doorstep, she and her cousin Mellie are awestruck, while their grandmother Nan is alarmed and irritated. But just as Lulu knows how to reassure the wary newcomer, she also understands that Nan needs time to warm up to the cat. From Lulu's independent (not to say disobedient) streak to Nan's ability to change her mind, McKay brings the characters to life in scenes full of warmth, wit, and perception. Lamont's lively drawings with gray washes illustrate the story. An appealing beginning chapter book from the excellent Lulu series. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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The right word: Roget and his thesaurus - Jennifer Bryant

The right word: Roget and his thesaurus - Bryant, Jennifer

Summary: The story of "shy young Peter Mark Roget, [for whom] books were the best companions--and it wasn't long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn't write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time"--Amazon.com.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Bryant's and Sweet's talents combine to make the lowly thesaurus fascinating in this beautifully illustrated picture-book biography of Peter Mark Roget. Born in the late eighteenth century, shy Roget was prone to wandering alone and began keeping lists of words at a young age. Even as he went to medical school and became a talented and respected physician, he still kept his book of word lists, gradually improving on the concept until he published his first thesaurus, classified thematically rather than alphabetically as it is today, in 1852. Echoing Roget's obsession with words, Sweet's intricate and elaborate collage illustrations—made out of textbooks, graph paper, maps, fabric, typewriter keys, and other found objects—put words on center stage. Lists in wildly expressive handwritten fonts along with cut-paper assemblages stuff the dynamic pages, even the appended time line and endpapers, with arresting detail. Pivotal moments in Roget's life get a similar treatment: terms related to plants bloom in tendrils around a watercolor illustration of Roget on one of his many walks. In brilliant pages teeming with enthusiasm for language and learning, Bryant and Sweet (A Splash of Red, 2013) joyfully celebrate curiosity, the love of knowledge, and the power of words. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Mar 10, 2015

Brown girl dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson

Brown girl dreaming - Woodson, Jacqueline

Summary: "Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child's soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become. Praise for Jacqueline Woodson: Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story. but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery"-The New York Times Book Review"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* What is this book about? In an appended author's note, Woodson says it best: "my past, my people, my memories, my story." The resulting memoir in verse is a marvel, as it turns deeply felt remembrances of Woodson's preadolescent life into art, through memories of her homes in Ohio, South Carolina, and, finally, New York City, and of her friends and family. Small things—ice cream from the candy store, her grandfather's garden, fireflies in jelly jars—become large as she recalls them and translates them into words. She gives context to her life as she writes about racial discrimination, the civil rights movement, and, later, Black Power. But her focus is always on her family. Her earliest years are spent in Ohio, but after her parents separate, her mother moves her children to South Carolina to live with Woodson's beloved grandparents, and then to New York City, a place, Woodson recalls, "of gray rock, cold and treeless as a bad dream." But in time it, too, becomes home; she makes a best friend, Maria, and begins to dream of becoming a writer when she gets her first composition notebook and then discovers she has a talent for telling stories. Her mother cautions her not to write about her family, but, happily, many years later she has—and the result is both elegant and eloquent, a haunting book about memory that is itself altogether memorable. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Rain reign - Ann M Martin

Rain reign - Martin, Ann M

Summary: Struggling with Asperger's, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Rose, a fifth-grader who has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, is often teased at school about her obsession with homonyms and her steadfast conviction that everyone should follow the rules at all times. Rose lives with her harsh, troubled father, but it's Uncle Weldon who cares for her in the ways that matter most. Still, her father did give her Rain, a stray dog that comforts and protects Rose. After Rain is lost in a storm and recovered, Rose learns that her dog has an identification microchip. Though she fully grasps what that means, Rose is driven by the unwavering belief that she must follow the rules, find Rain's former owners, and give the dog back to them. Simplicity, clarity, and emotional resonance are hallmarks of Rose's first-person narrative, which offers an unflinching view of her world from her perspective. Her outlook may be unconventional, but her approach is matter-of-fact and her observations are insightful. Readers will be moved by the raw portrayal of Rose's difficult home life, her separation from other kids at school, and her loss of the dog that has loved her and provided a buffer from painful experiences. A strong story told in a nuanced, highly accessible way. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Dick Francis's Refusal - Felix Francis

Dick Francis's Refusal - Francis, Felix

Summary: "Dick Francis's beloved investigator Sid Halley returns in the riveting new mystery by New York Times-bestselling author Felix Francis. Six years ago, investigator Sid Halley retired for good. He'd been harassed, beaten, shot, even lost a hand to his investigating business, and enough was enough. For the sake of his wife and new daughter he gave up that life of danger and uncertainty, and he thought nothing would ever lure him back into the game. He thought wrong. Sir Richard Stewart, chairman of the racing authority, begs Sid to investigate a series of dodgy races. Sid adamantly refuses, but the following day, Sir Richard is found dead under suspicious circumstances. And then a man with an Irish accent contacts Sid, telling him to deliver a whitewashed report about the suspected race-fixing. or else. At first Sid ignores these warnings, knowing that once he submits to this criminal bully, he will forever be under his control. But as the intimidation tactics escalate-and Sid's own family comes under threat-Sid realizes he must meet his enemy head-on. or he might pay the ultimate price for his refusal"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* In the steeplechase world, "refusal" means that a horse will not take a jump. Dick Francis' son Felix, collaborator with his father on several novels and now the heir to his father's line of mysteries, extends the equestrian definition to the massively banged-up (physically and emotionally) Sid Halley, who stars in a Francis novel for the first time since 2006. Halley, a champion steeplechase jockey who lost his left hand to the double whammy of a fall from a horse and an attack by a thug, long ago turned his insider's knowledge of the race world into private investigative work. But an intense fear campaign directed at his girlfriend made him retire from the track altogether at the end of Under Orders. When the chairman of the British Racing Authority asks Halley to investigate his strong suspicion that races are being fixed, Halley refuses. Even after the chairman is found dead, threats made to Halley's family, and his daughter placed in danger, Halley still refuses, holding onto the safety of his family, which he knows would be blown apart by his investigating the case. What finally tips Halley into changing his mind is entirely convincing, even though it ratchets up the danger for Halley and his family. This is fascinating reading on every level, from the neatly calibrated plot, moving from suspense to terror, to all the details of the racing world Francis provides. Halley is now, as before, an utterly complex, interest-holding character. And the final, moral turn that Francis makes of "refusal" is brilliant. A heroic return for Sid Halley. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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The Charlemagne pursuit - Steve Berry

The Charlemagne pursuit - Berry, Steve

Summary: A mysterious manuscript discovered in the tomb of Charlemagne sends Cotton Malone on a perilous international quest that takes him and twin sisters with their own agenda from an ancient German cathedral to the harsh, unforgiving world of Antarctica in pursuit of the truth about the death of his father on a classified sub mission beneath Antarctica.

Booklist Reviews
Berry's Cotton Malone series is beginning to develop a case of been there, done that. In this fourth installment, the globe-trotting ex–government agent turned bookseller is caught up in the mystery of Charlemagne, the eighth-century empire builder whose tomb is somehow linked to an early Nazi exploration of Antarctica and, even stranger, to the death of Cotton's own father. The story follows the by-now overly familiar course: Cotton is thrust immediately into life-threatening danger and spends the rest of the novel evading pursuers and pursuing the solution to a historical puzzle. There are colorful bad guys, likable good guys, and plenty of action scenes (it's a mystery why no one has turned these books into Indiana Jones–like movies). As in previous episodes, the dialogue ranges from graceful to clunky, and the frequent chunks of historical background are worked into the narrative in ways that vary from seamless to clumsy. This is a solid action thriller that will appeal to the author's fans, but how long Berry can prolong the series without tinkering even a bit with his formula is the real question here. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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The Jesuits - John W O'Malley

The Jesuits: a history from Ignatius to the present - O'Malley, John W

Summary: Chronicles the history of the Jesuit order from the time of Ignatius of Loyola to the present Pope Francis.

Booklist Reviews
With the first-ever election of a Jesuit as pope, this most controversial of Roman Catholic orders has once again arrived center stage. Since Ignatius Loyola instituted the Society of Jesus in the sixteenth century, the Jesuits have provoked both awe and anger from both church hierarchy and secular governments. Ostensibly dedicated to the pope, the Jesuits have found themselves alternately embraced and banned by Rome. Some kings tossed Jesuits into prison and purged them from their realms, while others, notably Russia's Catherine the Great, embraced them. Himself a member of the order, O'Malley emphasizes the Jesuits' commitment to education as central to their long-term success. They started schools and universities throughout their mission fields, often inaugurating Western-style higher education in countries such as India, China, and Japan. O'Malley's brief history records events, but the book's terse, just-the-facts approach may leave critical readers hungry for deeper insights and answers. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Mar 6, 2015

Practical projects for self-sufficiency - Chris Peterson

Practical projects for self-sufficiency - Peterson, Chris

Summary: Have you ever wanted to build your own chicken coop, cider press, or herb-drying rack? How about a clever two-bin composter, horse-blanket washing machine, or genuine Langstroth beehive? In Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency, you'll find these projects and a couple of dozen more to help you develop and grow your self-reliant lifestyle. Where most self-sufficiency books give you pages of words and a couple of small drawings for an explanation, this book shows you exactly how to do things, employing beautiful photos and complete plans in the best Cool Springs Press tradition.

Library Journal Reviews
If you are one of the many backyard farmers, this book has 30 projects to help you enjoy the fruits of your labors. Peterson (Building with Secondhand Stuff) and Schmidt (The Complete Guide to Greenhouses & Garden Projects) lend their considerable expertise to these plans. Clear, step-by-step instructions are paired with large photos. The projects are very doable, even for beginners. Sections cover food prep and storage, outdoor building projects, and small animal enclosures. However, this collection has odd choices. Some projects really stand out, such as the cider press, manual laundry washer, solar still, loom, and strawberry planter with mesh cover, but others appear less related—doggy-door installation, kit shed, fire pit, etc. The designs related to raising bees or chickens are better covered by specialized books, such as Kim Flottum's Backyard Beekeeper or Storey Publishing's The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals. VERDICT This is a well-organized book with great instructions, but unless one is hunting actively for these particular projects, it falls a little flat. Recommended where variety is desired.

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Mar 1, 2015

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin

The storied life of A.J. Fikry : a novelThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry - Zevin, Gabrielle

Summary: When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.



Booklist Reviews
In this sweet, uplifting homage to bookstores, Zevin perfectly captures the joy of connecting people and books. A. J. Fikry, the cantankerous owner of Island Books, is despondent after losing his beloved wife and witnessing the ever-declining number of sales at his small, quirky bookstore. In short order, he loses all patience with the new Knightly Press sales rep, his prized rare edition of Tamerlane is stolen, and someone leaves a baby at his store. That baby immediately steals A. J.'s heart and unleashes a dramatic transformation. Suddenly, the picture-book section is overflowing with new titles, and the bookstore becomes home to a burgeoning number of book clubs. With business on the uptick and love in his heart, A. J. finds himself becoming an essential new part of his longtime community, going so far as to woo the aforementioned sales rep (who loves drinking Queequeg cocktails at the Pequod Restaurant). Filled with interesting characters, a deep knowledge of bookselling, wonderful critiques of classic titles, and very funny depictions of book clubs and author events, this will prove irresistible to book lovers everywhere.

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The paying guests - Sarah Waters

The paying guests - Waters, Sarah

Summary: It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

Library Journal Reviews
Frances Wray is a woman of limited opportunities stuck in genteel poverty in an England that has not quite recovered from World War I. When she and her mother begin renting out half of their house to the Barbers, the change is disruptive. The Barbers are lower class, a little noisy, and tacky. Leonard sometimes says off-color things to Frances; Lilian is pretty but unhappy. Something is off about the Barbers' marriage, but a part of Frances relishes the change. As Frances and Lilian grow closer, she finds Lilian more attractive and their lives begin to mesh. But when a crisis comes, will each woman be able to see it through? And what does it mean morally if they do? Can love really conquer everything? Moody and atmospheric, this latest from three-time Booker Prize finalist Waters (The Little Stranger) has a rich historical setting in which you can feel the smallness of middle-class English life. But neither Frances nor Lilian is terribly sympathetic, and it's hard to root for them. But perhaps that is the point. Waters keeps you guessing until the very end. VERDICT For fans of complex historical crime fiction with a strong sense of dread. [See Prepub Alert, 3/10/14.]—Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI

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Is that all there is? the strange life of Peggy Lee - James Gavin

Is that all there is? the strange life of Peggy Lee - Gavin, James

Summary: Draws on hundreds of interviews to reveal the life of the popular and enigmatic recording artist, discussing the contradictions in her life and her extensive and multi-faceted career. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Peggy Lee developed her soft and sultry sound from the influences of black singers and her early days of singing in dinner clubs, where she deliberately softened her voice to force the audience to listen. When she purred, audiences would lean in. That softness and an equally hard-edged sexiness set her apart from others, from her beginning as a singer in the swing era to her voice-over work with Disney to her inspiring of the Muppet character, Miss Piggy. Lee, born Norma Deloris Egstrom, had a hardscrabble childhood in desolate North Dakota but an outsize talent and personality that eventually drove her to a career in Hollywood. Gavin (Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne, 2009) offers a penetrating portrait of a woman embittered by childhood memories and failed marriages, struggling with alcohol and drugs, yet determined to have a career worthy of her voice. Best known for her songs "Fever" and "Is That All There Is?," Lee sang with legendary musicians Benny Goodman, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. Old and new fans will appreciate this revealing portrait of troubled and talented woman. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Blacksad - Juan Diaz Canales

Blacksad - Diaz Canales, Juan

Summary: "Private investigator John Blacksad is up to his feline ears in mystery and intrigue, digging up the backstories behind murders, child abductions, and nuclear secrets during the 1950s Red Scare in the United States."--P. [4] of cover.

Library Journal Reviews
A European classic reappears in English, and a rich gift it is. This noir thriller set in 1950s America stars a cast of anthropomorphic animals, with the dirty-handed hero an impeccably trenchcoated black cat. John Blacksad is a sort of private investigator, and these three stories visit territory both familiar and unusual. Our hero's lost love is inexplicably murdered, a misinterpreted killing rocks a white supremacist movement, and a coterie of radical intelligentsia crosses agendas with a version of Commie-hunter Joe McCarthy. The second story, especially, offers complex and subtle plotting that earned an Angoul√™me award. But story aside, Blacksad soars on the art. If anyone could convince you that animal-headed beings could be real, these artists do. The evocative character renditions, draftsmanship, and painted colors simply take the breath away, from the polar bear police chief turned bad to the hog bartender, cockerel "Senator Gallo" (McCarthy), and bad guy reptilians. VERDICT A prime ambassador for the adult comic, Blacksad reinvents funny animals to a whole new purpose: suspenseful, sophisticated, and beautifully visualized drama with violence and sensual sex quite appropriate to plot and readership. Highly recommended for adult collections.—M.C.

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Eat, move, sleep - Tom Rath

Eat, move, sleep - Rath, Tom

Summary: #1 "New York Times" bestselling author Tom Rath delivers a book that will improve your health for years to come in three of interconnected areas: eating, moving, and sleeping.

PW Annex Reviews
Gallup senior scientist and prolific business author Rath (Strengthfinder 2.0) explores how diets, exercise regimens, and sleep choices influence our health. Rath, diagnosed at age 16 with a life-threatening genetic disorder, draws from personal experiences as well as research, asserting that "small decisions about how you eat, move and sleep each day count more than you think." He offers practical tips to make long-lasting behavior changes and, in an encouraging, conversational tone, urges readers to "forget fad diets, forever," "make inactivity your enemy," and "sleep longer to get more done." He also emphasizes the importance of incremental changes, ranging from ideas on "product placement" in the home, getting a device to track steps, and using smaller plates to combat overeating. Snappy titles like "Family style is making us fat," energize the short, punchy chapters and add levity to what could be daunting behavioral changes. While much of Rath's advice is common-sense, his willingness to share his personal struggles makes this an easy, persuasive read for those trying to correct self-sabotaging behavior or adopt a healthy lifestyle. (Oct.)

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In some other world maybe - Shari Goldhagen

In some other world maybe - Goldhagen, Shari

Summary: Follows a group of teenagers throughout their lives after a shared 1992 experience at a theater showing the film version of the famed Eons & Empires comic books. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Goldhagen follows up her winning debut novel, Families and Other Accidents (2006), with an equally engaging story of four young people whose lives intersect at pivotal moments. The novel opens on the day in 1992 when all four high-schoolers, living in different parts of the country, attended the premiere of the fictional Star Wars–like sf epic Eons & Empires. Adam, an aspiring actor, will go on to star in the TV series based on that movie. Phoebe and Ollie are madly in love but eventually break up, and a heartbroken Ollie will travel the world, while beautiful Phoebe moves to L.A. with high expectations of becoming an actor, only to end up bar tending and sleeping with a series of has-beens. Meanwhile, nerdy Sharon, obsessed with the comic-book series upon which Eons & Empires is based, ends up becoming a writer in New York City. How the four characters cross paths is one of the high points of this six-degrees-of-separation novel. A highly relatable cast is another hook as the four face down difficulties with humor and a good deal of heart. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz


Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe - Saenz, Benjamin Alire

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.



Horn Book Magazine Reviews
Aristotle -- Ari for short -- meets Dante at the pool one summer day in 1987, and the two boys quickly strike up a friendship that will change their lives in ways both subtle and profound. Ari admires Dante's gregarious personality, his intellectual curiosity, and his close bond with his parents, especially his father. In contrast, Ari's own father, a Vietnam vet, remains aloof, damaged by his experience of war, and both parents refuse to discuss his imprisoned older brother. When Ari saves Dante's life but breaks his own legs in the process, it not only strengthens their friendship but cements the bond between the two Mexican American families. When Dante's father leaves El Paso for a one-year position at the University of Chicago, the boys stay in touch through letters. Dante had telegraphed his sexual attraction to Ari, but now comes out to his friend in writing. When Dante returns, the two cautiously resume their friendship, but when Dante gets beat up in an alley for kissing another boy, it's a catalyst for Ari to examine how he really feels about Dante. Ari's first-person narrative -- poetic, philosophical, honest -- skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance, leading to the inevitable conclusion: "How could I have ever been ashamed of loving Dante Quintana?" jonathan hunt Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Funny girl - Nick Hornby

Funny girl - Hornby, Nick

Summary: "From the bestselling author of High Fidelity, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down comes a highly anticipated new novel. Set in 1960's London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingenue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters. Insightful and humorous, Nick Hornby's latest does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and forces us to examine ourselves in the process."-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
Barbara Parker is crowned Miss Blackpool in 1964 and promptly returns the tiara. She doesn't want to be a beauty queen; she wants to be Britain's answer to Lucille Ball. In short order, she moves to London and auditions for a BBC television program, where she meets a creative, witty production team. Taken with her good lucks and impeccable comic timing, they fashion the program around her, and Barbara (and Jim) becomes a huge hit, emblematic of the shifting mores of a more modern Britain as the titular couple bicker about politics, class distinctions, and sex. In his seventh novel (and the first in five years), Hornby pens a homage to light entertainment, sending up the stodgier side of the BBC via snobby critic Vernon Whitfield. He also delivers a winning example of the form, crafting fast-paced, witty dialogue and lovable characters set against a time of creative breakthroughs, both in the culture and in the media. And the final chapters, in which the team must deal with the infirmities of age and illness, highlight Hornby's great gift for effortlessly moving from humor to heartbreak. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Wild - Emily Hughes

Wild - Hughes, Emily

Summary: The story of a little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth. Bears taught her to eat, birds to speak, foxes to play; she is unabashedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly Wild. That is, until one day she meets a new animal that looks oddly like her...

ForeWord Magazine Reviews
A blooming floral forest; wide-­eyed and playful bears, foxes, and crows; a little girl with green, vine-­infused hair—the colors and creatures that dance across these pages will bring joy to child and child-­at-­heart readers. This feral darling, when taken in by "civilized" strangers who do everything wrong—according to the rules of nature and the animals who raised her—elicits boundless empathy. The beautiful artwork and simple text reveals the happy wildchild of nature who lies dormant in all of us, and we are encouraged to understand and respect those who are different. Ages five and up.

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Cat & Bunny - Mary Lundquist

Cat & Bunny - Lundquist, Mary

Summary: Best friends Bunny and Cat have always enjoyed playing alone together, so when others ask to join their favorite game Cat wants to say no, while Bunny is happy to have everyone play.

Booklist Reviews
How cute are Cat and Bunny? Born on the same day, they do everything together—ride bikes, play, eat lunch. "Friends forever!" says Bunny. "Just us!" says Cat. Even very young children may guess what comes next. Their favorite made-up game is interrupted by Quail, who wants to play. Bunny says yes, and yes to all the others who want in. A left-out Cat hides and waits for Bunny to find her, but Bunny is busy. When a kitten shows up, pushing a ball of red string, Cat invents a new made-up game and is only too happy to let Giraffe play, too. Eventually, all the other little ones come, and finally, Bunny. Will Cat let her play? Of course! The characters, either children dressed as animals, or animals with the faces of children, are the most pleasing part of the whimsical colored-pencil artwork, which uses the softest of colors and shapes and is just right for the age group. Don't forget to show kids the adorable endpapers on which the cast frolics. The title page, on which each appears as a swaddled baby (already wearing caps with ears), is delish. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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One step too far - Tina Seskis

One step too far - Seskis, Tina

Summary: A woman leaves her happy family and home to reinvent herself as a completely different person, with no trace of her former self, working in a hip London ad agency, until a shocking revelation makes her face what she has done.

Booklist Reviews
Attorney Emily Coleman abruptly leaves her family and home in suburban Manchester for a filthy communal home in North London. She takes a new name and a new job as a receptionist at an ad agency. She befriends a kleptomaniac with a bad coke habit and begins to lead a life far different from her old one, partying into the wee hours. Although the traumatic event that has sent her running is only alluded to, she makes it clear that her marriage was a happy one and a welcome contrast to her own family, which includes a disturbed twin sister and a philandering father. Debut novelist Seskis displays a keen sense of pacing as she gently misguides readers, only to drop a few bombshells in the latter chapters, and her backstories on Emily's family are vivid yet done with great economy. Amping up the fantasy factor of living a completely different life, Seskis hooks readers from the outset while also spelling out the high emotional costs of abandoning loved ones. A skillfully done novel by a writer to watch. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Dog blue - Polly Dunbar

Dog blue - Polly Dunbar

Summary: Bertie, who loves the color blue and really wants a dog, finally gets his wish even though the dog he meets is white with black spots.

Booklist Reviews
PreS-K. Most kid-wants-dog tales involve at least one antipet parent; in this version, adults are left out of the picture entirely. In fact, the author-illustrator of Flyaway Katie [BKL Je 1 & 15 04] leaves most things out of the picture, at least compositionally: there are never more than two or three elements set against the pastel-washed backgrounds. The story line is correspondingly simple. Bertie is a tousled little boy who wishes for a dog in his favorite color (blue). No such luck, so Bertie pretends to be a blue dog instead, cheerfully scampering about on all fours--until a spotted pup arrives on the scene, not blue but perfect all the same. Dunbar makes clever use of page turns, unfolding the story in pithy, alliterative prose: "Blue really loves Bertie. Bertie really loves Blue." In the end, the wish fulfillment is gratifying, but it's Bertie's ingenious self-sufficiency that truly resonates. ((Reviewed July 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Glory O'Brien's history of the future - King, A.S.

Glory O'Brien's history of the future - King, A.S.

Summary: As her high school graduation draws near, Glory O'Brien begins having powerful and terrifying visions of the future as she struggles with her long-buried grief over her mother's suicide.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Glory and her best friend, Ellie, drink a bat. They mix its desiccated remains with some warm beer on an impulsive night, and now they see visions of the past and future for everyone they encounter. But Glory's not sure she has a future. She graduated high school with no plans for college, and she's worried that she's doomed to be just like her mom, a talented photographer who killed herself when Glory was only four. The future she sees for others, however, is plagued by misogynistic violence, and when she doesn't see herself or her descendants in any of the visions, she starts rooting around in her mother's darkroom and journals for clues that will help her free herself from a futureless fate. King performs an impressive balancing act here, juggling the magic realism of Glory's visions with her starkly realistic struggle to face her grief, feel engaged with her own life, and learn anything that she can about her mother. Imbuing Glory's narrative with a graceful, sometimes dissonant combination of anger, ambivalence, and hopefulness that resists tidy resolution, award-winning King presents another powerful, moving, and compellingly complex coming-of-age story. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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West of sunset - Stewart O'Nan

West of sunset - O'Nan, Stewart

Summary: A tale inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald's last years in Hollywood finds him reflecting on past events at the height of the Jazz Age while falling in love, struggling to hold his family together and penning The Last Tycoon. By the best-selling author of Last Night at the Lobster. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* It would appear to be a daunting task to write a biographical novel of one of our most iconic writers, yet O'Nan avoids every pitfall. Focusing on the last years of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life, when he was depleted both mentally and physically from overwork and too much drink, O'Nan, in understated prose, renders a heartbreaking portrait of an artist soldiering on in the face of personal and professional ruin. Ensconced at the Garden of Allah complex in Hollywood, surrounded by a group of lively, hard-partying actors and writers, including Dorothy Parker and Humphrey Bogart, Fitzgerald is relegated to rewriting B-movie scripts. He is in desperate need of the money to pay for Zelda's stay in a sanitarium. Their family "vacations," in which he reports back to her doctor on her behavior, only underscore how far they have fallen from their once-glamorous life. He finds comfort, instead, in his relationship with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, a self-made woman who took care of her alcoholic mother for years and casts a wary eye on Scott's endless promises to give up drinking. O'Nan's convincing characterization of a man burdened by guilt and struggling to hold onto his dignity is, at once, a moving testament to grace under pressure and an intimate look at a legend.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An eight-city tour, national review coverage, and an avalanche of prepub buzz will back up this luminous novel from the prolific O'Nan. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The life-changing magic of tidying up - Marie Kondo

The life-changing magic of tidying up - Kondo, Marie

Summary: This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire. - (Random House, Inc.)

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In the kingdom of ice - Sides Hampton

In the kingdom of ice - Hampton, Sides

Summary: In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans, although theories abounded. The foremost cartographer in the world, a German named August Petermann, believed that warm currents sustained a verdant island at the top of the world. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores. James Gordon Bennett, the eccentric and stupendously wealthy owner of The New York Herald, had recently captured the world's attention by dispatching Stanley to Africa to find Dr. Livingstone. Now he was keen to re-create that sensation on an even more epic scale. So he funded an official U.S. naval expedition to reach the Pole, choosing as its captain a young officer named George Washington De Long, who had gained fame for a rescue operation off the coast of Greenland. De Long led a team of 32 men deep into uncharted Arctic waters, carrying the aspirations of a young country burning to become a world power. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever." The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship. Less than an hour later, the Jeannette sank to the bottom, and the men found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies. Thus began their long march across the endless ice -- a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world. Facing everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* With its western frontiers explored and the idea of Manifest Destiny still beckoning, the U.S. in the Gilded Age looked to the North Pole for adventure and conquest. U.S. naval officer George DeLong approached James Gordon Bennett, the wealthy and eccentric publisher of the New York Herald, to finance an expedition. After all, Bennett had sponsored the expedition for Stanley to find Livingstone in Africa and was forever on the hunt for the next sensational story. In July 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail with a crew of 32 men for uncharted waters. It was an extraordinary expedition, cheered on by scientists and adventurers around the world, hoping to verify the theory that beyond the polar ice girdle were warm currents and a habitable climate. Instead, the ill-fated ship found impassable ice pack that trapped it for two years until the hull was finally breached, and the men were forced to find their way across ice floes, 1,000 miles from Siberia. Facing snow blindness, frigid storms, polar bears, scarcity of food and water, and creeping madness, the men fought desperately to survive. Sides (Hellhound on His Trail, 2010) tapped amazing archival material, including diaries, letters, and the ship logs, to render a completely thrilling saga of survival in unbelievably harsh conditions. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Feb 5, 2015

The secret place - Tana French

The secret place - French, Tana

Summary: "The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls' boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin's Murder Squad--and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. "The Secret Place," a board where the girls at St. Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why. But everything they discover leads them back to Holly's close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique--and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen's links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda's will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly's father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined."-- from publisher's web site.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* A year after the brutal murder of a young man on the grounds of posh St. Kilda's school for girls, the case remains unsolved. Then Holly Mackey, a 16-year-old Kilda's student and the daughter of Dublin Murder Squad's Machiavellian Frank Mackey, approaches Detective Stephen Moran with a tantalizing clue: a card with a photo of the victim and the words, "I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM," which she says she plucked from a school bulletin board. Moran, who met Holly when she was a nine-year-old witness to a crime, knows instantly that this could be his ticket into the elite Murder Squad—if the famously combative Antoinette Conway, the lead investigator on the case, will have him. As the detectives learn more about the connections of the victim to two rival Kilda's cliques, they begin to understand that the girls are more devious, and possibly more dangerous, than they had imagined. Complex characters and a vivid sense of place are at the heart of French's literary success (Broken Harbor, 2012), and although Conway and Moran are fine protagonists, it is the members of the two rival cliques, and St. Kilda's itself, that make The Secret Place much more than just a solid whodunit. French brilliantly and plausibly channels the rebellion, conformity, inchoate longings, rages, and shared bonds, as well as Kilda's role in fostering them. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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American chronicles World War I

American chronicles World War I

Summary: NPR marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War with firsthand accounts from veterans themselves, as well as insightful commentary from leading historians.

Library Journal Reviews
NPR compiled this wonderful assortment of World War I stories to mark the 100th anniversary of "The War To End All Wars." Included are firsthand accounts from veterans, author talks with noted war historians, poetry, broadcasts from that era, and stories of many often overlooked events and battles. Covering from the last of the doughboys to the Christmas Truce of 1914, this compilation is a must for fans of military history. Not only does it shed light on the first World War, but it sets the stage for the factors and scenarios that triggered World War II as well. Fans of American and cultural history will also enjoy the commentary and stories on a wide variety of topics from the "Bonus Army" to Armistice Day and the Great Depression. VERDICT Hosted by Rachel Martin, this NPR collection is essential for both military buffs and novices, with something for everyone.—Erin Cataldi, Johnson Cty. P.L., Franklin, IN

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Rape of Europa (DVD)

Rape of Europa (DVD)

Summary: Imagine the world without our masterpieces. Interviews with eyewitnesses and historians and newsreel footage show how during World War II the Nazis systematically took or destroyed the art of Europe. It follows the the heroic Europeans who first hid, and then set out to find and return what had been taken, with the help of the Allied forces "Monuments Men". It is work that continues to this day.

Video Librarian Reviews
An engrossing documentary, The Rape of Europa tells the interrelated stories of the Nazi plunder of priceless objets d'art from conquered territories during World War II, the simultaneous efforts by Allied forces to preserve as much of Europe's artistic patrimony as possible while working towards the defeat of Germany, and the subsequent attempts to restore stolen and/or damaged items to their proper owners and original form. Based on the bestselling book by Lynn H. Nicholas (who appears as one of several talking-head commentators), the film draws on a wealth of archival footage to document Hitler's own artistic ambitions and his attempts, along with underlings such as Luftwaffe head Hermann Goering, to steal some artistic masterworks for personal collections while systematically destroying others—such as Polish and Russian national treasures—officially considered degenerate because they represented the work of "inferior" races. Attention is also paid here to the heroic efforts by Polish, Russian, Italian, and French patriots who strove to save endangered artwork, as well as a unit of experts attached to the American army who advised the military about minimizing damage while also aiding in the recovery of pieces that had been carted off to secret locations. The documentary follows its subject into the postwar period, detailing the extensive repair and reconstruction work, as well as the international effort to return items to their rightful owners. Narrated with quiet authority by Oscar-nominee Joan Allen, this is a fascinating film that sheds light on a lesser-known but culturally significant aspect of World War II history. Highly recommended. Aud: C, P. (F. Swietek) Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2009.

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When books went to war - Molly Manning

When books went to war: the stories that helped us win World War II - Manning, Molly

Summary: "When America entered World War II in 1941, [it] faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks, in every theater of war"--Amazon.com.
Chronicles the joint effort of the U.S. government, the publishing industry, and the nation's librarians to boost troop morale during World War II by shipping more than one hundred million books to the front lines for soldiers to read during what little downtime they had.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Books mattered. As war machines rolled across Europe after 1939, Nazis shuttered libraries and burned books they deemed objectionable because of authorship or content. Then the U.S. began its own mobilization, early conscripts training with broomsticks for rifles. America's industry eventually supplied requisite war matériel, but soldiers and sailors needed weapons capable of fighting combat's psychological and spiritual stresses. Under the leadership of redoubtable librarian Althea Warren, the Victory Book Campaign rallied the nation's libraries, publishers, booksellers, and ordinary citizens, marshaling millions of volumes to send to front lines. Magazine publishers ran off issues on lightweight newsprint that could similarly be carried into foxholes. Manning has scoured archives to retrieve soldiers' touching accounts of the therapeutic, life-saving influence of stories that took their minds away from daily horrors. Servicemen loved these flimsy paperbacks, which they could slip into pockets and trade with one another. She also reports a less-savory tale of American politicians conniving to censor some titles. Includes bibliography of books published as Armed Services Editions and a partial list of authors the Nazis tried to suppress. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Hummingbirds - Ronald Orenstein

Hummingbirds - Orenstein, Ronald

Summary: "A visual feast of beautiful images and a comprehensive natural history of a unique and remarkable bird family."--P. [4] of cover.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
This perfect coffee table book captures the dazzling and fascinating world of the remarkable hovering bird unique to the Americas. Author Ronald Orenstein, a zoologist, lawyer and wild life conservationist, explains in layman's terms many characteristics of hummingbirds, from ?ight and feeding techniques to migrations and mating patterns. There are more than 340 species of hummingbirds divided into seven groupings with illustrative names like Mangoes, Coquettes, Brilliants, Mountain Gems, Bees, Emerald and Giant. Readers will learn about their diverse habitat, unique metabolisms, courtship prowess and near mythical attraction in pre-Columbian lore of the Americas, and may be surprised to discover that hummingbirds while resting enter a state of hibernation-like torpor to conserve body heat. The spectacular photography of Michael and Patricia Fogden reveals the diversity, beautiful colors and movement of these unique birds. They successfully captured images of the speedy birds in ?ight, perched, nesting, feeding and, in an exceptional set of photographs, even escaping the fangs of a viper. Although extremely resilient and adaptive, the hummingbird environment is often threatened by development and deforestation and the final chapter focuses on these issues. (Sept.)

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Museum masterpieces The Louvre (DVD)

Museum masterpieces The Louvre (DVD)

Summary: "In Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre, expert art critic and historian Richard Brettell takes you on an unforgettable journey through one of the world's greatest museums. This 12-lecture series begins with an overview of the Louvre's colorful history as royal palace, art academy, and national showcase. Then you'll explore some of the most beautiful and renowned examples from the museum's remarkable collection of European paintings from the late medieval period through the early 19th century, including masterworks by Raphael, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Watteau, Rubens and Vermeer..."--Publisher description.

Lectures: 1. Palace to Museum, the story of the Louvre -- 2. Leonardo and the origins of the collections -- 3. Italian Renaissance and the Baroque painting -- 4. Spanish school of painting -- 5. Rubens and Flemish painting, Early German -- 6. Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Dutch painting -- 7. De La Tour, Le Nain, and 17th century painting -- 8. Claude and Poussin, French painter in Rome -- 9. Watteau and Chardin -- 10. Boucher, Fragonard, and the Rococo in France -- 11. Jacques-Louis David and his school -- 12. Delacrois and Ingres, the great dialectic.

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Hidden girl - Shyima Hall

Hidden girl: the true story of a modern-day child slave - Hall, Shyima

Summary: The author relates how she was sold by poor parents into slavery and forced to endure brutal servitude in California until a neighbor's anonymous call to the police began her journey to freedom and her subsequent efforts to fight for child slaves.

Booklist Reviews
Hall was eight years old when her impoverished Egyptian parents sold her to a wealthy couple. The life of domestic slavery that followed was one of endless labor and physical and verbal abuse. Her experiences don't improve when her captors immigrate to the U.S., smuggling her in with them. Almost two years pass before her plight is discovered, and she is freed. But her difficulties don't end there. As a result of never having been educated, she is illiterate, can't speak English, and can't even tell time. Accordingly, school is an ordeal and the foster homes in which she lives are often problematic. The balance of this affecting and enlightening memoir tells the story of how she survived and, ultimately, thrived. Unfortunately, her story is not unique. She points out that there are almost 43,000 slaves in the U.S. at any given time. By giving a face to one hidden girl, Hall has given a face to many. This is an excellent book for both individual reading and classroom use. Also suggest Rosanne Hawke's Spirit of a Mountain Wolf, reviewed in this issue, for a fictionalized view of child slavery. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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