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Pre2006 Reviews – X, Y and Z

Yamamura, Anji Hannah Duck PICTURE BOOK Kane/Miller, 2008. Every Sunday, Hannah Duck leaves her house and goes for a walk in the park, reporting back to her parakeet and turtle friend whom she left behind. One day she confesses that she finds her Sunday walk very scary, so the parakeet joins her and something scary turns into a very grand time indeed. A cute, short story about the strength and courage we can find with simply bringing a friend along to help us not be so afraid. A perfect little lesson for elementary school. EL – ADVISABLE



Yancey, Rick The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, 313 p. – Release: October 2005. Against his better judgement, Alfred helps his uncle steals a mysterious object in return for $1,000,000. Of course the sword turns out to be Excalibur and Arthur has stolen it for the enemy. Arthur finds himself caught up in events almost beyond his imagining as he tries to help the last Grail Knight recover the sword. With secret societies, modern technology, traitors, and an unexpected (okay, I saw it coming) destiny I found this very satisfying. Arthur realizes that he has to make a choice and he has to be better than himself in order to be a hero, even if the world never hears his name. MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Yee, Lisa Absolutely Maybe, 288 p. Arthur A. Levine (Scholastic), Feb 2009. Language: PG (30+ swears). Maybe (Maybelline) has been the ugly daughter (ONLY daughter) of Chessamay Chesnut Abajian Wing, beauty pageant winner and coach, for long enough. Maybe has dealt with Chessy many ex-husband’s and prima donna students until it hurts. For once she is taking things into her own hand. With her best friends, Ted and Hollywood, Maybe sets off in search of a life of her own, searching for Maybe’s never present dad in sunny California. Maybe reminds me of Gingerbread (Rachel Cohn) before her story started only revolving around sex. Maybe is funny and compelling and girls will thoroughly enjoy reading about her. MS – ADVSIABLE. . Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher


Yee, Lisa, So Totally Emily Ebers, 281 pages, Scholastic – Language: PG, Sexual Content: PG, Violence: PG – Emily Ebers has started a new life and moved to a new town with her divorced mom. While trying to make friends at school along with the people on her volleyball team,she writes in her diary/journal deticated to her dad telling all about her daily happenings. She writes about her school, friends, mother, and anything else that happens in her life. So Totally Emily Ebers is a great book that taught me a lot about what kids go through when their parents have a divorce and how hard it is to make friends. A fantastic book that taught me a lot. It showed me what kids go through when their parents have a divorce and how hard it is to make friends. EL – ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer:ES


Yin Brothers PICTURE BOOK Penguin – Ming has come to San Francisco to help his brothers earn money to send home to their parents in China. While one brother is off working on the railroad, Ming watches the family’s general store, while his oldest brother grows and harvest the fresh foods for the store. The store, in the city’s new Chinatown district, does poorly, as the Chinese immigrants have very little money to spend. Then Ming makes a new friend who teaches him English, and his new skills help the store to grow. A sequel to Coolies. A simplistic, but good look at the slow path to acceptance that Chinese immigrants had to walk; it will be especially useful in the Northern California area. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Yolen Jane and Adam Stemple TrollBridge: A Rock and Roll Fairy Tale 240 p. TOR/Forge – Eleven dairy princesses have disappeared off an old bridge along with their photographer, leaving Moira behind to solve the mystery. She finds an unlikely source of aide from three brothers who happen to be famous pop stars – and the quartet is transported into a realm of vicious trolls, where their lives are repeatedly in danger. A rompy read, a little gruesome, but a happy ending that is not necessarily predictable. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Yolen, Jane and Adam Stemple Pay the Piper 168 p. – Callie’s parents are kind, but very concerned for their daughter’s safety. When the famous group Brass Rat comes to town, Callie gets permission to go by creating an assignment for the school newspaper, but only if the whole family attends and she takes her brother to the interview. During the interview and after the concert, Callie sees and hears some very strange things, including dancing rats. Putting together her report, Callie keeps going back to the thought that the leader of the band is actually the legendary Pied Piper of Hamelin. When all of the children of the town disappear on Halloween, Callie knows that she has to do something to save them all. Well done! An excellent read. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Yolen, Jane Baby Bear’s Big Dreams, illustrated by Melissa Sweet. PICTURE BOOK. Harcourt, 2007. Baby Bear is tired of being little and thinks of all the things that he will choose to do when he is a grown-up bear, in just a year or two. A bright, fun look at the life and “freedom” of an adult from the perspective of a small child, who may have been “No” just a few too many times. EL – ADVISABLE


Yolen, Jane Naming Liberty, paintings by Jim Burke. Philomel (Penguin), 2008. PICTURE BOOK. The story of Gitl’s arrival in America with her family is told alongside the tale of the building of the Statue of Liberty. Yolen has made a nice choice juxtaposing a young girl’s dreams of a new life with the building of the greatest symbol of freedom in America. My current favorite on this subject is Doreen Rappaport’s Lady Liberty. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.


Yolen, Jane Shape me a Rhyme: Nature’s Forms in Poetry, illustrated by Jason

Stemple. PICTURE BOOK. Wordsong, 2007. Taking twelve of nature’s shapes, Yolen combines poetry with photographs into a cohesive whole. The dramatic photographs and the short poems could easily be used as an inspiration for a photography class or an English class at any level. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE

Yolen, Jane Sword of the rightful king – A very different look at the legend of the sword in the stone and its origins. OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Yolen, Jane Prince Across the Water, 288 p. – Duncan MacDonald’s clan has been called up to fight at the side of Prince Charles, who has returned from exile to reclaim the throne of England from the German King George. First thwarted by his family, Duncan and his best friend run away to join the troops, arriving just in time for the disastrous battle of Culloden. Between Carolyn Meyers and Jane Yolen, we have a great source of historical fiction dealing with the English throne. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Yolen, Jane Sword of the rightful king – A very different look at the legend of the sword in the stone and its origins. OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Yorinks, Arthur What a Trip! Illustrated by Richard Egielski. Scholastic, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. A young boy trips and finds himself in a dimension that kind of looks like his neighborhood, but everything is very pointy. Another trip sends him home again, but his family is mystified when he keeps trying to send imself back to the other dimension. Sorry, but I just don’t get it. I didn’t find it funny or cute or interesting or dramatic. I’m going to have to try this one on a child and see what they say. NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher.


Youmans, Marly The Curse Of The Raven Mocker 273 p. FSG – Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G – When Adanta’s father and mother leave the house, she must fend for herself. Her father is looking for the healing waters and her mother was taken by a raven mocker. She meets Pony Boy who helps on her way to find her mother and father. I wasn’t sure of this book when I first began to read it, but it got better. It was put together really well. Things happen that you wouldn’t suspect. If you read this book you should like Indian culture. MS – ADVISABLE ; Student Reviewer: KC


Yourgrau, Barry My Curious Uncle Dudley, 211 p. – Duncan’s parents have gone on a long road trip and left him in the care of his Uncle Dudley, who is visiting the family. Dudley is a user of magic and tries to cast a love spell on a married woman, which backfires and ensorcels someone else. Though it seems to be an amusing romp of magic gone wrong, I can’t forgive the fact that at it’s heart, it is a book about a man trying to horn in on a married woman. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher




Zacharius, Walter Songbird – Mia is a Jewish teenager living in Poland at the start of WWII. In order to survive increasingly harsher circumstances, she ends up selling her soul and her body for the resistance, both in Europe and the United States. This book is very harsh and graphic. There is much swearing and sex talk and described sex acts. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zahn, Tim Dragon and thief – !!!! Draycos, in order to survive, must convince young Jack to wear him like a tattoo across his body. The two of them spend their time running across the galaxy from thugs trying to kill Jack so that they can frame him for a murder they are going commit. This is said to be the first book in a 6 book series. ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zahn, Timothy Dragon and Soldier – The continuing exploits of 14 year old Jack Morgan and Draycos, the sometime 3D, sometimes giant tattoo, who has hooked up with Jack. In their quest to keep Jack safe and to help Draycos find his people’s mortal enemies, Jack enlists in a mercenary group. The science fiction, the mercenary training, the fast plot will keep readers going, but this one does has the feeling of being a just a blip in the plotline of the entire series, however many books it will eventually have. Does not live up to the promise of the first book. MS, HS, ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zarr, Sara Sweethearts, 217pgs. Little Brown- Language: PG-13, Sexual Content: PG-13, Violence: PG- Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick became fast friends. They were both outcasts, no one liked them. They only had each other. One day, Cameron disappears without telling Jennifer. Jennifer feels all alone. Several years past by and Jennifer is not the same. She is no longer the outcast in her new home and school; instead she is popular and social. Everything seemed to be perfect for the new Jennifer. THen, Cameron shows up in her life again. What will Jennifer do? Sweethearts is a cute story on friendship; it really shows how much they really loved each other. But, I did not like how there was some child abuse, swearing, and sex. Cameron’s father swears and tries to beat them up. Cute, but it has those bad attributes. HS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: CW


Zeises, Lara Contents Under Pressure, 244 p. – Fourteen year old Lucy has never been kissed. Her best friend has done much more than that. Her big brother has come home from college bringing a girlfriend with him. And then Lucy finds a boy of her own – but she is unsure how much attention she really wants, or what she’ll do if Tobin says he wants to go “all the way.” Originally I panned this book, because it has a nose-picking scene that made me gag and I couldn’t read any further. Once I took the time to work through the gagging (thanks Lara), I went on to discover a really great book. After reading so many trashy teen books, it is very nice to read a book that shows natural consequences and real thought behind the pressures that teens feel to have sex. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zeises, Laura Anyone but You, 245 p. – Seattle is a skater girl who wants to enjoy her few weeks of summer freedom before she has to attend summer school. Then her relationship with her stepbrother Critter becomes very complicated as both of them discover feelings of jealousy. When Seattle’s long-absent father returns to town all heck breaks loose. While I liked the very complicated subjects that Zeises addressed and read the book completely to its finish, I personally can not put it in my library because of the large amount of swearing and a graphic self-pleasuring scene. This book will do very well in public libraries or much more liberal schools. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zenatti, Valerie When I was a Soldier, 233 p. – Valerie is freshly 18 and off to her mandatory two years service in the Israeli army. Born in France, she doesn’t always understand the mindset behind her natural born Israeli companions. Her boyfriend dumped her right before she had to leave and when they try to reconnect, it really doesn’t work. Though she probably won’t stay in after her two years are up, this time will go a long way in defining who she is to become. An interesting look inside the Israeli military, entwined with girls who are on the verge of womanhood. There are references to sex, but no descriptions. I was glad for the experience, but I don’t see kids picking this up in droves. HS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zephaniah, Benjamin Face – After a moment of bad judgment, Martin is burned and his face is scarred for life. Now he learns who his true friends are, and where his true strength is. Very good read, even though it is written in dialect. My 7th grader liked it too. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zevin, Gabrielle Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, 271 p. Farrar Strauss Giroux. Naomi wakes up in the hospital with a hot looking guy looking over her, but while she can remember her name, she has lost all memory of the last four years of her life. She can’t remember her parent’s divorce, her little half-sister, her best friend Will or her boyfriend. And Naomi is pretty sure that even if she does regain her memory, she will never be the girl she was before. An excellent, compelling book that is extremely enjoyable to read. Unfortunately, two dozen swear words, teen drinking and reference to previous sex mar its pages. A great choice for a less conservative school or public library.


Ziegler, Jennifer How Not to be Popular,339 p. Delecorte (Random House), 2008. Language: PG-13 Sexual Content – PG Violence-G The book is about a girl named Maggie who moves with her family a lot. Instead of trying to fit in and make friends, she decides to not make friends by doing crazy things. However, instead of making a clean getaway, everything backfires. I really enjoyed this book. It’s full of humor, tips, crushes, and How Not to be Popular. I recommend this book to anyone. MS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: KG


Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn Reaching for Sun, 192 Bloomsbury Publishing. Language-G, Sexual Content-G, Violence-G; Josie Wyatt has cerebral palsy and when a boy from one of the mansions around her becomes her friend, she is extremely happy. He helps her get through her many difficulties. This book is written in free verse and shows how much a friendship means to anyone. It makes you understand how much people just want to be normal. You are with Josie when she comes to understand her mother and take control of her disability. Even if you don’t like books written in verse, you should try reading this one. EL-Essential. Student Reviewer: KD


Zimmer, Tracy Reaching for Sun, 192 pages. Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Language – none, Sexual Content – none; Violence – none; Josie Waytt has cerebral palsy. So everyone at her school makes fun of her; they call her names and make fun of her. But then Jordan, a new kid at school, makes friends with her. They help her grandmother in the garden and they do experiments with bugs. Over time they begin to feel different about each other. The summer comes and he goes away to camp and a family problem occurs and her life is changed forever. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer : KC


Zindel, Paul The Doom Stone, 173 p. – While visiting his Aunt Sarah’s archeological dig near Stonehenge, Jackson is caught up in a fight with an ancient creature, which only vaguely resembles a humanoid. With the help of Alma, the gravedigger’s daughter, Jackson has to free his aunt from possession by the creature and find a way to kill it. This book actually came out in 1995. I was never a fan of the Pigman books, so this was a nice change for me from what I am used to from this author. Gory-minded boys will love this one. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zinner, Linda Holding at Third – Matt and his mother have moved to a new town so that they can be with Matt’s older brother as he goes through intense chemotherapy. Matt also has to leave his beloved baseball team behind and join the rich kids in the 4th place team in the league. Though there is a little about baseball here, the book is really about Matt and how he deals with his brother’s cancer. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Zubli, Rita la Fontaine de Clerq Disguised: A Wartime Memoir, 366 p. Candlewick. In 1942, Rita’s Indonesian island home is invaded by Japanese forces. In order to protect her, Rita is disguised as a boy. She and her family alternate between prisoner of war camps, a jungle shack and back into prison again as they struggle to survive poverty and filth, boredom and politics during World War II. Ms. Zubli’s biography is simply written and very evocative of life under Japanese rule. I am not sure how many young readers will find it spontaneously, but if you need more biographies or books about WWII, this is much better than anything I have ever seen written about famous celebrities. MS, HS – OPTIONAL


Zuckerman, Linda A Taste For Rabbit, 309 p. Arthur A. Levine – Language: PG-13, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG-13 – This is a world where the foxes represent the humans. The whole community is going under for lack of food. Harry the Fox is sent on a mission by his older brother to find out where all the rabbits have disappeared to. That is when he meets Quentin, a rabbit who is on a mission to find out why his friends keep randomly disappearing. What do these two heroes have in common? I liked this book a lot. It was based around government and what happens when you elect the wrong guy for the job. I’m usually not into this kind of stuff, but this book was really good. I give it two thumbs up! MS-HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KH

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