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Pre2006 Reviews – S

Sage, Angie Magyk, 564 p. – Septimus Heap book one. Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh son died at birth – or so his family thought. And he was replaced by the baby daughter of the murdered queen. Ten years later, the Heap family is warned that they must flee and evil takes over their city. Boy 412, one of the Young Army – the enemy of all Magyk – is rescued (he thinks he has been kidnapped) and accompanies the group. DomDaniel, the new old evil in town has sent his hunter after the group to kill the princess so that he can take final possession of the city. Everyone will have a part in thwarting DomDaniel’s plans. I don’t want to go too much into the plot. I just want to say that I LOVED it! EL, MS-ESSENTIAL; HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Salas, Laura Purdie. Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School, illustrated by Steven Salerno. Clarion Books, 2009. $16.00. The poems discuss everything about school from buzzing outside the schoolyard before it starts, to the last bell ringing and the stampede out the door. The poems and imaginative illustrations are perfectly paired. The children’s features and body movements resemble the animals that their behavior is similar to (e. g. monkeys, elephants, centipede, etc.). EL-ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

 

Salisbury, Graham Eyes of the Emperor, 222 p. – When Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese, Eddy defies his father, lies about his age and joins the U.S. Army. As an American of Japanese decent, Eddy and his platoon mates are looked on with suspicion by the Army. Secretly the soldiers are sent to a tiny island off the coast Mississippi to participate in a bizarre experiment that Eddy knows in his heart has no way of succeeding. Based on the true experiences of 26 servicemen during WWII. Most U.S. citizens have heard about Japanese internment camps during WWII, but this particular incident has not received much publicity – for very good reason. Salisbury writes an excellent companion book to his Under the Blood Red Sun. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sandell, Lisa Ann Song of the Sparrow, Pages-393, Publisher- Scholastic Press, Language- G Sexual Content- A Violence- PG 13- Elaine is 16 years old. And is the daughter of a soldier in young Arthur’s army. She is the only girl in this army camp and dreams to have another girl who is a friend. She wishes every day that the handsome Lancelot the love of her life would see her as more than a tomboy. Then Gwynivere shows up. She is destined to marry Arthur (also known to us as King Arthur but he is still young and is not king yet), Elaine is very excited to have another girl in the camp until she finds out that Gwynivere is evil and cruel. She tries to be nice to her but then they get thrown into a great danger while the men are at war. Will they bind together or not? This book was amazing and I loved the old day romance of girls loving Knights in shining armor. MS, HS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: AN

 

Sanders, Addie Meyer I Don’t Want to Go. Illustrated by Andrew Roland, Lobster Press., 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Joey has to go stay with Grandma and Grandpa and he doesn’t want to go. Each day he has a new experience that he imagines will be terrible, but which turn out to be fun and exciting. He rides a train, grocery shops, goes to a pirate party, makes spaghetti sauce with grandpa, and camps out. Each time he says he doesn’t want to go. Finally after a fun week, mom and dad come to take him home, and he doesn’t want to go. The pictures show a good comparison between what Joey envisions and what actually happens. K-3 – OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

 

Sanders, Scott Loring The Hanging Woods, pages: 326, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, Language: R, Sexual Content: PG 13, Violence: R Review: Walter, and his friends Jimmy and Mothball have fun of their own in their little town by avoiding the Troll, causing havoc, and eating Oreo’s boiled peanuts. Walter lives a pretty simple life; goes to school, reads well, and hangs out with his friends. But that all begins to change when he first kills a red fox with his bare hands like he was told to do, like others have done before him. Strange things begin to happen in the woods and know one knows who did it or why it happened. Many secrets become unraveled and truths are finally told. But one question still remains what happened and why? This book was a very hard book to read. It was set in the 1975’s and gets very racial and is very graphic on animal slaughter. A great murder mystery but not a book for everyone. Swearing is on every page and can get very graphic. Explores the minds of what happens when you first kill something. Can get a bit disturbing. Like I said not a book for every one. Can be difficult to understand and you have to think about a lot at the end. Everything gets unraveled but in a different way. HS- OPTIONAL ((would recommend to High Schoolers with strong stomachs and looking for a good mystery.)). Student Reviewer: AN

 

Sanderson, Brandon Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians, 320 p. Scholastic (October 2007) – On the morning of his thirteenth birthday, Alcatrz receives a mysterious package of sand, supposedly from his long gone parents. He also sets fire to the kitchen of current foster parents, resulting in a visit from his caseworker and a new home. The next morning, however, a crazy old man calling himself Alcatraz’ grandfather appears and Alcatraz is whisked off into an adventure and everything he ever knew about the world is challenged. Librarians control most of the world and suppress information; three small, hidden continents are the only free spots left on Earth. And Alcatraz better learn how to use his talent of breaking things very quickly, or he will end up dead. For all of the highly amusing plot points of this book, the author’s narrative tool of insisting that this book is a work of non-fiction is highly annoying and almost put me off the series to come. I would much rather enjoy this as a work of complete fiction, but then I am a librarian – one of the enemy, according to the author. Despite this annoyance, the energy and main action are just interesting enough to salvage this title. Fantasy lovers will eat this up. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

 

Sanderson, Brandon Alcatraz vs the Scrivener’s Bones, 322 p. Scholastic, 2008. Alcatrraz is back, this time on an expedition to the Great Library of Alexandria in search of his missing grandfather. The evil librarians will stop at nothing to stop Alcatraz in his tracks. Personally, I am still not a fan, but it may be that I can’t get past the idea of librarians suppressors of knowledge. But, I also don’t find Alcatraz as great of a main character as Alex Rider or Charlie Bone. If your audience found the first one amusing, then by all means, get this one too. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

 

Sayre, April Puley Vulture View, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. PICTURE BOOK Henry Holt, 2007. A simple, soaring book about the day of a turkey vulture. Written in simple prose and illustrated with cut-paper collage, youngsters will be pleasantly fascinated and then disgusted by the vulture’s dinner. I would enjoy reading this to a class talking about the cycle of life, birds or the natural world. EL – ADVISABLE

 

Sayres, Meghan Nuttall Anahita’s Woven Riddle, 368 pages Amulet (Abrams) – Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G – Anahita must marry, because she wants to chose her suitor, something unheard of in her tribe; she devises a riddle contest, the winner of which she will marry. Her contest brings unexpected consequences on her, her family, and her tribe. Anahita is clever, beautiful, and witty with her contest. This book is a good read for all ages, girls especially. MS-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: HD

 

Schaefer, Carole Lexa Dragon Dancing PICTURE BOOK Penguin – To celebrate Mei-Lin’s birthday her classmates create a life sized dragon and they set off across the playground on an imaginary adventure across the world. Bright, child-like pictures accompany the simple text, which has some great onomatopoeia and action words that would be great for younger students to act out. I think elementary classes would have great fun with this title, especially as the basis of a unit on dragons. EL-ESSENTIAL

 

Schertle, Alice Little Blue Truck Illustrated by Jill McElmurry, Harcourt, Inc., 2008. PICTURE BOOK. This fun story about lending a hand really hit the nail on the head. The little blue truck takes the time to make friends as he travels along. When the big “important” dump truck comes along, he has no time for such nonsense. But when he gets stuck in the mud, little blue truck is there to help. When both are stuck all the animal friends join in to save the day. The rhythm and rhyme of this tale makes you want to break out in a country western song! The illustrations are colorful and personify the animals and vehicles perfectly. Frog, who provides the final needed scrap of help, is especially joyful. K-3 – Essential Reviewed by Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

 

Schertle, Alice Very Hairy Bear, illustrated by Matt Phelan. PICTURE BOOK. Harcourt, 2007. The very hairy bear revels in the joys of bearhood, unitl his no-hair nose gets so cold when he settles down for his long winter nap. This short, quick, cute book could be read aloud to an elementary classroom to show what bears do and spur talk of hibernation and life slowing down for winter. EL – ADVISABLE

 

Schlitz, Laura Amy The Bearskinner, illustrated by Max Grafe. PICTURE BOOK Candlewick, 2007. Walking through the woods in despair, a former soldier of war makes a bargain with the devil. For seven years he must dress in the skin of a bear and never voice a prayer. Along the way the man has a chance to learn about love and compassion, if he can only fulfill the bargain. The mixed media illustrations are dark and haunting; the narration is unadorned and powerful. A well-written choice to add to a fairy tale collection. EL – ADVISABLE

 

Schlosser, Eric and Charles Wilson Chew On This, 186 p. Houghton Mifflin – Chew On This exposes every single nasty secret, not just about the fast food you get at McDonald’s and how its made, but also the lives of the employees and how they are treated. It also goes into where Chicken Nuggets at McDonald’s REALLY come from, and the horrors of the slaughterhouses, and what dangers the employees are put in every moment they are there. It tells just how fast food restaurants get you to buy food, and how the people up on top make so much more money than the average worker. (400 times more, in fact). This book tells it all. To me, I found little bits of trivia concerning how foods are made and such to be vaguely interesting, but after I read this book, I really will now think twice about going to a McDonalds again. Some of the things it exposes seem like they could not be allowed in our society today, and yet, when you really think about it, you know it is very possible. Not a single subject was skipped, but it kept you flipping the pages to see where it was going to go next. Full of fascinating facts, this was a book I really would like to have around.

 

Schmatz, Pat Circle the Truth, 188 p. Carolrhoda, 2007. Orithian “Rith” lives with his mother, step-father and half sister in a fancy house, which also seems to harbor a secret in the basement. A mysterious circular staircase leads down to the room of a old man who spouts bible verses at him. While his mother is religious, Rith doesn’t have much use for it, but the old man intrigues him and he thinks there may be a message from his hero father in the verses. Though the book is completely safe (no swears, etc), looking back, it’s also very mild, without much to keep your attention riveted. EL, MS – OPTIONAL

 

Schmidt, C.A. Usefool Fools, 262 p. Dutton (Penguin), 2007. Alonso’s mother is an important part of the medical clinic in their tiny, dirt-poor Peruvian town. On the tenth anniversary of the clinic’s opening, she is murdered by guerillas of the Shining Path revolutionary movement. Now Alonso and his family are cast adrift, especially as the wealthy doctor who has funded the clinic is not so sure he will ever reopen it. And his beautiful daughter, who is Alonso’s best friend, in unsure what to do, or if she can do anything to help Alonso’s struggling family. The path of a revolutionary seems to be his only choice, even though they are the ones who destroyed his family in the first place. Very little has ever been said in the US about the war and corruption and agonies of the villagers of Peru of the 1980’s. A very good addition to a world fiction collection, but I am not sure it will find an audience on its own. MS – OPTIONAL

 

Schneider, Josh You’ll be Sorry PICTURE BOOK. Clarion Books, 2007. Samantha Elephant’s parents tell her to be nice to her little brother or “you’ll be sorry.’ Being young, she immediately hits him and must suffer through the consequences., the extremely exaggerated consequences. The adorable pictures and fanciful narrative make this a great selection for young children who can then be led to a talk about the real reasons why you shouldn’t hit your siblings. EL – OPTIONAL

 

Schorr, Melissa Goy Crazy Pages: 344 Hyperion – Language: PG to PG-13, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G to PG – Rachel is you everyday Jewish teen, living through high school. At her brother’s bar mitzvah she runs into Luke. From there, things get complicated and she gets daring as she decides to make the Teen Commandments and then break them. She meets all types of new guys, most of whom are not Jewish. Towards the end, the story takes an interesting turn. I liked this book, but it wasn’t my favorite. It was just okay. There were a few points where I got bored and read something else. Despite this, I think a lot of people might enjoy it, though I wouldn’t make it a top priority. MS, ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer: JH

 

Schreiber, Ellen Comedy Girl 273 p. – Trixie is painfully shy, and only in the comfort of her own bedroom does she unleash her witty, wicked humor. Her best friend signs her up for the senior talent show and she freezes with fright. On the stage of the local comedy club she finds her voice, but it causes tension between her, her mother and her boyfriend. I really enjoyed this, evn though I thought Trixie’s shyness was a little overdone. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Schreiber, Ellen Vampire Kisses 5: The Coffin Club, 177 p. Harper, 2008. Content: G. Raven’s vampire boyfriend had been away for several days now, so Raven decides to leave Dullsville for Hipsterville and find out what’s keeping him away. The two are quickly reunited, but Raven is drawn into the underground night life of the Coffin Club, which is not just a cool mortal dance club, but has a secret side as a gathering place for vampires also. She doesn’t want to lie to Alexander, but she just can’t stay away. The Vampire Kisses are a great place to send kids after they have read Twilight and are looking for more. While not as in depth nor as romantic, they are more classic vampiry. MS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher

 

Schreiber, Ellen Kissing Coffins, 165 p. – Raven knows that Alexander, the boy she loves, is a vampire. Her family has fallen in love with him and now he has disappeared. In her search, Raven comes across an evil vampire whose only desire is to possess her in order to get revenge on Alexander and Jagger feels no need to be nice about it. If you have the first book, you definitely need the sequel! MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Schreiber, Ellen Teenage Mermaid – Spencer falls in love with Lilly, the mermaid who saves him from drowning. Lilly trades her fins for legs in order to find her “prince”. Definite EL level stuff here. Modern take on “The Little Mermaid”. OPTIONAL . Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Schreiber, Ellen Vampire Kisses – Raven has been obsessed with vampires since birth. She wears black as a rule in a town of golf shirts and tennis skirts. Then the mansion next door is occupied by a mysterious and dashing young man who only comes out at night. Raven must find out who he is! Absolutely a novel that girls will love! ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Schreiber, Ellen Vampireville, 176 p. HarperCollins – Goth-girl Raven and her vampire boyfriend Alexander have managed to fool Jagger into thinking Alexander has turned Raven into a vampire, but they must still stop Jagger and his sister Luna from turning Travis, Raven’s historic nemesis, into a vampire also. This series was published before Twilight, but may be overshadowed by the new series. I like that the Vampire Kisses point are short and sweet and to the point. I hope Ms. Schreiber keeps it going. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Schreiber, Mark StarCrossed, 305 p. Flux. Language- PG Sexual Content- PG Violence- PG. Christy Marlowe and Ben Penrose meet in a plastic surgeon’s office to erase tattoos and hoping to let go of bad memories. They start to see each other and begin to find out more about each other’s past. This book was really good. It was just like a modern day Romeo and Juliet story but with lots more twists and turns in the plot. This book is a must have! I would recommend it to everyone. MS, HS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: AN

 

Schumacher, Julie Grass Angel, 196 p. – Frances is ready for a great summer with her best friend, when her mom springs a family outing to a spiritual retreat in Oregon for most of the summer. When Frances refuses to go, she finds herself spending the summer with her eccentric Aunt Blue in a dingy house near the graveyard. Frances can’t relax though, because she is afraid that her mother has taken her little brother to join a cult and that they may never be a family again. Poignant, sweet, the best tension in the book is between Frances’ mom and her big sister Blue. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Schumacher, Julie The Book of One Hundred Truths Pages: 182 RandomHouse This book bored me to tears. I kid you not, I was asleep. Maybe it’s because it was about a twelve-year old, but I would leave it in an elementary school library, if that. It might catch the attention of a fourth or fifth grader. NO Student Reviewer

 

Schutz, Samantha I don’t want to be crazy, 280 p. Scholastic – Language R ( a couple of “f”), Content PG 13, Violence G – Samantha Schutz talks about the hard ships of dealing with a new world and not knowing what is wrong. Faced with mental problems along with serious panic, she moves from psychologist to psychologist and medication to medication trying to find the answer to end her pain. She explores many roads and describes well the feeling of moving from one world to another. That is the teenage world to that of an adult. My personal experience… I believe it was very well writing and the thought process matches something that senors today would relate to. I felt emotionally attached to the character, the author, fearing, hurting and rejoicing with her. Although I throughly loved the book, the ending was a bit of a disappointment. I believe it is a wonderful book filled with lessons needed to be learned, but don’t recommend it for middle school. It would be put to much better use, and because of some of the content, should be put in a high school library. HS – ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer:RW

 

Schutz, Samantha I don’t want to be crazy, 280 pgs. Push (Scholastic). Language – R (F=2, B=2, O=2) Sexual Content – PG-13 ; Violence – PG; This story is a poetic autobiography of a girl leaving high school and learning to deal with the emotional rollercoasters of life and being a teenager, with severe anxiety being thrown into the mix. I loved this book because I could relate to it in certain ways and helped me see from the view of someone fighting something more powerful than any earthly force – herself. HS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: KH

 

Scieszka, Jon. Guys Write for Guys Read. pgs 272 Violence- G; Language- G; Sexual Content- G. This book is a bunch of little stories. They are by different authors that wrote about different experiences they went through when they were a kid. In my opinion, this book is pretty good. It does have some interesting stories, and some are random and have no relation to any other story, but that may be the point. Just to encourage kids to go for their dreams. EL, MS -OPTIONAL Student Reviewer-SH

 

Scieszka, John Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, pictures by Mary Blair. Disney Press (Hyperion), 2008. Scieszka takes Lewis Carroll’s brilliant novel and distills its essence, making it accessible for the youngest of readers or listeners, without having to even resort to the movie. Mary Blair is my favorite Disney artist – while she has passed away, reams of her art still exists in Disney archives and all over the park. Her original drawings helped set the look for the movie and while her pictures are not copies of the film, her personality shines through. I would buy this for my own collection just because it has Blair’s name on it, but read it again and again for Scieszka’s wry sense of humor and his spin of the original. EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy – Library-Teacher

 

Scott, Elaine When is a Planet not a Planet: The Story of Pluto, 42 p. Clarion (Houghton), 2007. Photographs and text go through the first discoveries of the planets and up to the decision to declassify Pluto as a planet. The detail is so fantastic that even though this looks like a picture book, it really is best for an older audience. Any teacher will need to extract the information they want to present instead of reading the entire book out loud. I especially like the history that shows the changes and discoveries over time. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE

 

Seegar, Laura Vaccaro First the Egg. Roaring Brook Press, 2007. PICTURE BOOK. The age old question of “which came first”, is cleverly addressed and cleverly avoided in this adorable book. While elementary students will enjoy the pictures, older students, even up to high school philosophy, will enjoy the perpetuation of the argument. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE

 

Seeger, Pete and Paul Dubois Jacobs The Deaf Musicians, PICTURE BOOK Penguin – A musician loses his hearing and his job, but rediscovers his love of music as he learns sign language and finds other musicians to share his new style. The bright, edgy drawings mimic the jazzy style of the music in this book. Younger students may enjoy discussing and practicing what deaf jazz musicians might look like. Short, quick read; would be very useful in older classes as an example of onomatopoeia. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Segal, John The Lonely Moose PICTURE BOOK Hyperion, 2007. A lonely has no one to visit with until he rescues a hurt bird. The friends have a grand time together until a forest fire separates them and moose is worried that he may be alone again forever. Unfortunately, Moose’s story bored me. EL – NO

 

Seidler, Tor Brainboy and the Deathmaster – Recently orphaned, Darryl finds escape in a video game, StarMaster, a game that requires more brains than gaming skills, created by the same man who owns the orphanage Darryl is in. After winning the game, Darryl is approached by the game’s creator and asked to join a very special group of children, working a secret lab. In the lab though Darryl finds some very suspicious information. Though not based on any scientific fact, the book is a good romp that lots of children will enjoy. EL, MS ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Selznick, Brian The Invention of Hugo Cabret Scholastic, 525 p. – Hugo Cabret has lived above the train station and cared for it’s many clocks for some months now – since his uncle disappeared. He steals from the station food stand in order to survive, but from the toy maker to supply him with parts to fix the magnificent automaton that is his father’s only remaining gift to him. Then on e day he is caught by the toy man, which leads to many startling revelations and the reinvention of Hugo. I was a little skeptical, because I am not a fan of graphic novels, but my 7th grade daughter assures me that this is fantastic. It reads like a novel and a movie, with its large pages of illustrations (over 200 of them). EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sensel, Joni. Reality Leak, 218 Pages. Henry Holt and Company. Language – G; Sexual Content – G; Violence – G; Bryan Zilcher is just minding his own buisness, selling Lemon-Moo when a white truck literally throws off a crate with a man inside of it! This man, Arbichald Keen takes over and old factory and starts turning the city upside down. Walking pants, mouse teabags, messages from the toaster: These anamolies can only be solved by Bryan and the girl who thinks she’s a dog. This story reminds me of a Dr. Seuss written for an older audience. Although the plot is almost non-existent and the characters aren’t all well developed, it is still a fun and interesting ride. EL/MS – OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: KH

 

Serros, Michele Honey Blond Chica, 298p.- Language- PG-13, Sexual Content- PG; PG-13, Violence-G. This book is set on the sunny beaches of California. Evie Gomez is a flojo at heart. She wears flojos (flip-flops) and she is a flojo (lazy). She has her friends in their group called the flojos. Her best friend Raquel always seemed like her friend. Then their old friend DeeDee returns from Mexico, after leaving 4 years before. Will different views ruin some friendships? Will Evie, Raquel, and DeeDee still all be best friends though they have all changed? This book has a great plot and storyline behind all the swearing. MS, HS-No because of swearing. ; Student Reviewer:AU

 

Service, Pamela Yesterday’s Magic, 224 p. Random House, 2008. Language: G; Sexual Content: G; Violence: G. Merlin and Heather are just getting back to normal life when Morgan ruins it yet again. Since Merlin accidentally slipped and told Morgan about Heather’s new emerging powers, Morgan decides to kidnap her. Merlin has no choice but to go after her. With his friends at his side, will he be able to rescue her before Morgan carries out her nasty plans? This book was OK. A little younger than what I like to read and I got bored of reading it very quickly. But there was a lot of good detail and the plot was fine. EL – OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: KH

 

Seskin, Steve and Allen Shamblin Don’t Laugh At Me PICTURE BOOK, illustrated by Glin Dibley. Tricycle Press, 2002. A variety of children with traits that make them “different” ask those around them to not laugh and to accept instead. This beautiful picture book is a illustrated version of an original folk song about looking past the outside. I can only hope that the one reference to God will not scare people away, but that teachers will embrace this book and its message. It also includes a CD version of the song. Great for elementary and for middle schools with Teacher Advisory programs. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL

 

Severance, John B. Braving the Fire – 15 year old Jem is tired of being left behind on the family farm, and runs away to join the Union side of the Civil War, along with his best friend Hank. Through the hard life a soldier and a tragic twist of circumstance, Jem is devastated and demoralized, eventually going home to heal. Though the subject and the plot will keep some people going, this is not the best Civil War book I have read, nor does it really add anything new to the subject. EL, MS OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shahan, Sherry Death Mountain, 202 p. – Erin is supposed to be on a bus on her way to visit her estranged mother. Instead she hitches a ride and goes on a hike into the Sierra Nevada mountains with two other teenagers, Mae and her brother Levi. During a violent lightning storm, Erin has to chase after Mae who panics and runs. The two girls are desperately lost in the mountains with almost no food and resources and can only rely on each other to get to safety. I thought the title was a little dramatic, and the beginning is a little slow, but once the girls are stuck in the mountain the adventure really takes off. In some ways it reminds me of Deathwatch without the psycho or Hatchet. EL, MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shannon, David Too Many Toys, The Blue Sky Press (Scholastic), October 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Spencer has LOTS of toys and his mother would like him to give up a few. All day long they wrangle over what will stay and what will go. At the end, however, it is the box the toys are going in that means the most to Spencer. Shannon’s bright, fun pictures are an essential part to this all too common tale. I don’t know how he could draw such a variety of toys without throwing in a couple of licensed products – such an imagination! Moms and kids will both enjoy reading this one! EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

 

Shannon, George Rabbit’s Gift,illustrated by Laura Dronzek. PICTURE BOOK. Harcourt, 2007. Rabbit is lucky to find an extra turnip in the depths of winter and decides to share his bounty. Each animal recipient in turn, passes the turnip on to someone else who might need it more. Thought to be originally told in China, version and translation of this simple, yet folktale have also been found in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. A very nice addition to a winter picture book collection. EL – ADVISABLE

 

Shapiro, Laurie Brand X, The Boyfriend Account, 227 p. Random House- Language: PG 13 – At school everyone is getting an internship to see what kind of department they want to go into when they are older and Jordie Popkin got to go into advertising. The advertisers decided to do a little project with Jordie to see if they could get her guy of her dreams to like her. She snagged him and went to prom with him but does he really all that he’s cracked up to be? You’ll have to find out if u want to read this, but it was not that exciting. It kind of dragged on until almost the end. It was sort of confusing too! Like why the heck were the advertisers doing that? It is not a book i would recommend to anyone! It’s not THAT bad but definitely not one interesting to keep in your library. Kids that don’t have a big attention span will drop this book in about the first three chapters! EL, MS – OPTIONAL; Student Reviewer:AA

 

Sharenow, Robert My Mother the Cheerleader, 288 p. HarperCollins, 2006. Louise is a little girl living in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She hasn’t gone to school for months, because a judge had the gumption to say that a little black girl could go to school with all of the white kids. Now Louise spends her day doing all of her mother’s chores, while her mother stands outside the school morning and afternoon to screams awful things at that little black girl. Louise doesn’t think a thing about the situation, until one day a handsome New York City man comes to town and sets in motion an awful chain of events that will rock Louise’s perception of the world. Because of the nature of the setting, there are racial epithets and swearing flung all over the place. And part of the danger includes an undescribed sexual assault. But, this book is a nice slice of life at the time of Ruby Bridges start at the white school. It doesn’t delve into the details of the “Cheerleaders”, as the screaming mothers are called, as much as I might like, but I think it is just enough for a middle school student to get the idea. MS – ESSENTIAL (remember, I warned you about the swearing).

 

Sharenow, Robert My Mother the Cheerleader, 304 pgs. HarperTeen. Language-PG, Sexual Content-PG, Violence-PG, Louise lives in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans with her mother, running a boarding house. When Ruby Bridges comes she is pulled out of school and her mother joins the crowd every day jeering at the girl. A man from New York comes and starts changing their lives as he tries to change his. It had the perfect mix of historical fiction and fiction. I learned something while still having a good read. It showed that courage comes in all shapes and sizes. There was a little bit of alcohol. MS-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: KD

 

Shaw, Tucker The Hookup Artist, 197 p. – Lucas is excellent at hooking up couples all over his school. Then he finds the perfect guy for his best friend Cate, but starts wondering if Mr. Perfect isn’t maybe the right guy for Lucas himself instead. Fluffy beach time reading best bought in paperback and left on the public library shelves. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shea, Bob and Lane Smith Big Plans. Hyperion, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Stuck in the corner for his hijinks, a young boy plots a course of BIG PLANS that involve the whole world, nay, the whole universe, that he will implement just as soon as he gets let out of the corner. While logic doesn’t enter the mind of a kid being disciplined, his feelings and the eye-catching illustrations will catch kids’ imaginations. A group of our ninth grade students gave this title a big “thumbs up” of approval as a great picture book to read. Plus, I think they liked the idea of dreaming big. EL – ESSENTIAL.

 

Sheldon, Dyan I Conquer Britain, 201 p. Candlewick, 2007. Cherokee has treaded homes for the summer – Instead of her visions of urban London, with its cool shops and nightclubs, she is stuck in the suburbs with a typical English stay-at-home mom, with her stiff-upper lip and no sense of humor. Cherokee is not sure there is any way to salvage her summer. I have not read the precursor to this book (Sophie Pitt-Turnball Discovers America), but I am going to now, but if Sophie is half as funny as Cherokee, it will be a delight! Cherokee’s wit and charm finally win over the Pitt-Turnball family and help heal the wounds. A perfect funky girl book. MS – ADVISABLE

 

Shepard, Jim Project X, 264 p – Both my 8th grade son and I agree – don’t waste your time on this one. Another “based on Columbine” book that supposedly explores the psyche of a teenaged killer, I have to wonder what purpose the authors of these types of books have. What audience are they trying to reach with what message? A better book on this topic would be “Shooter” by Walter Dean Myers. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shepard, Sara Pretty Little Liars 304 p. – Language: R (uses “f” several times); Sexual Content: PG-13 – After one of the four friends goes missing the other girls start getting strange messages from someone anonymous. This story is about their trials and how they cope with these bizarre messages. This book was easy to get into but a little confusing because of all the character switches. It shows high school life and that even the most perfect looking people have things to cope with. HS-NO-not appropriate for this age level Student Reviewer: KD

 

 

Shepard, Sara Flawless, 330, Harper Tempest, Language – R, Sexual Content – PG-13, Violence – G. Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily are wrapped up in their past and present lies. As the mysterious A leaks more and more of the girls secrets they’re family and school lives start to plummet. Spencer continues to see Wren, Aria ends it with her English teacher but Sean soon takes his place, Hanna starts her old habit up of throwing up, and Emily can’t decide if she likes girls or guys. I think that this book was really well written. You get to know they’re characters and their lives really good. It almost felt as if it were happening to me, I really could not put the book down! Even though its not appropriate for our school library I suggest you read it.MS, HS – NO. Student Reviewer: AA

 

Sher, Abby Kissing Snowflakes, 256 p. Scholastic, 2007. Sam and her brother have been dragged to Vermont to have quality time with their father and his new bride on their honeymoon. Sam, 15, is determined to never give the woman a chance, but she more than happy to throw herself at the adorable ski instructor. Along the way, however, she discovers more about her step-mother, more about what love really can be. Coming out in paperback, four swear words, more than just a romance novel. MS – OPTIONAL

 

Sherry, Kevin I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean PICTURE BOOK Dial (Penguin) 2007. The giant squid makes a big deal out of his size relative to every other creature in the ocean. Even when he is swallowed by something much bigger, he finds a way to come out on top in the size game. Art classes need this book, if just to study the technique the author used – glass pried from the windows of shipwrecked pirate ships separate three layers: watercolor, cut paper and then squid ink outlining. The bright pictures are fun to look at and the text is pretty funny. EL-ESSENTIAL; MS, HS – ADVISABLE

 

Sheth Kashmira My Dadima Wears a Sari PICTURE BOOK Peachtree – Two young girls ask their grandmother about the saris that she wears every day and wonder if she would prefer dresses or pants like theirs. “Dadima” passes onto her granddaughters the many advantages to wearing a sari. Step-by-step directions at the back show the reader how a sari is worn. Pastel shaded illustrations, like the many patterns on saris, compliment the story. Could be used in a geography class or even a clothing class. EL, MS-ADVSIABLE

 

Sheth, Kashmira Keeping Corner, 272 p. Hyperion, 2007. Betrothed at 2, married at 9, Leela, 12, is now ready to live with her husband. Then he dies. Now, Leela must submit to her head being shaved, wearing dark, depressing clothing and “keeping corner”, living only within the walls of her family’s home for an entire year. And after the year is over, she will be branded as an unmarriable widow for the rest of her life. Her brother sends to her a tutor to keep her mind active and outside the narrow confines of her village, British rule is being challenged by the ordinary people of India, led by Ghandhi, towards, perhaps, a better life for Leela and for India. I love fiction about India. If you have a larger collection, this would be a good fit, especially if you talk your Geography teachers into requiring an international fiction read. Based on the true experiences of the author’s own aunt. MS, HS – ADVISABLE

 

Sheth, Kashmira Blue Jamine, 183 p. – Seema, along with ther parents and sister are leaving India and their family behind and moving to Iowa. Once there, Seema finds some good friends who help her with her homesickness and give her strength to deal with her own and others’ prejudice. Going back to India when her beloved Grandmother falls ill, Seema learns visiting home can never be the same, but it can be good. An excellent entry in the body of fiction about immigrating. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sheth, Kashmira Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet, 243 p. – Jeeta is a member of a traditional Indian family, working to arrange marriages for the two oldest daughters in modern India. Jeeta’s new friend Sarina belongs to a less-traditional family, and Jeeta begins to see that there may be more choices available in her life than she previously thought and that everything traditional is not bad. A good new look at Indian culture. Will be a great addition to a cultural fiction collection. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shimko, Bonnie Kat’s Promise, 272 p. Harcourt – Language: PG-13; Sexual Content: PG-13; Violence: G – Orphans have a hard time as it is, but try to imagine once having an abuse father that got killed in a car wreck, and a loving mother killed by cancer. Worse still, you are being sent to your Aunt’s house. As a matter of fact, the very same aunt that could have paid for the treatments to cure her. Kat must rise above her loathing of Aunt Pauline and discover the secrets around her, as well as the normal times and trials of teenagers. I grew so attached to Kat during this book. I laughed and cried and somewhere in between, it ended up in my favorites. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: KH

 

Shinn, Sharon General Winston’s Daughter, 342 p. Viking (Penguin), 2007. Averie has joined her General father and her Colonel fiancée as they work to subdue a country they are attempting to conquer. After a close scare in the market place, Averie befriends a local woman and brings her into the household as a ladies’ maid. Averie finds herself falling in love with the new land and with Lieutenant Du’kai, another military man, but from a different conquered country. Besides realizing that she is growing away from her long-time love, she doesn’t know that bitter betrayal and heartache await her. This book is a conundrum for me. It is definitely a fantasy book – set in a non-earth country with non-earth cultures. But – there is no magic involved what so ever. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fantasy book without magic of some sort. I am not sure how this book is going to find an audience. Its well-written, interesting and definitely has a point to make, but there’s no sure way to sell it to a reader. I hate to reserve emy opinion until book number two comes out, but that may be what I have to do. MS – OPTIONAL

 

Shinn, Sharon Mystic and Rider, 440 p – Senneth is a mystic of fire, in charge of a group sent by the king to quietly move through the country and seek out the mood of the land. Along with learning about each other, the group finds mistrust and danger as different groups are stirring the countryside and cities against not only magic, but against the king himself. A solid piece of fantasy that doesn’t resort to gimmicks to draw the reader in. There should be more to come. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shinn, Sharon The Safe-Keeper’s Secret, 222 p. – Fiona is the daughter of the local safe-keeper, the one person that everyone tells their darkest and mundane secrets to. Along with her “brother”, Reed, who came to them as a foundling, Fiona grows up believing that she will be the next safe-keeper and Reed always finds himself restless, wandering even over the world to find what he wants to be, though he is always drawn back to his village. Neither of them could have ever predicted the courses that their lives were really meant to take. EL, MS, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shinn, Sharon The Truth-teller’s Tale, 276 p. – Twins Adele and Eleda are respectively a Safe-keeper and a Truth-teller. They come into their powers early, and gradually earn the respect of their community. As the girls get older, love and such enter their thoughts and they must both learn that keeping secrets and telling truths are two sides of the same coin and that each has its place. This book is much more a romance book than the first. It talks about first love and first lust and what happens to you when you truly find that someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Not meant for elementary students. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Showalter, Gena Oh My Goth, 246 p. Simon and Schuster – Gothic Jade has gotten into trouble one too many times. Now her father has given permission for her to be taken on a “fieldtrip”, along with her arch enemy, Mercedes, the school’s head Barbie – who is in trouble for reasons of her own. The two of them find themselves in a world turned upside down – Goth is in and Barbies are the fringe – both girls have an important lesson to learn about who people truly are. Though the science fiction element is a little odd, it helps make the point. Goths and Barbies will all enjoy the book – even if the message doesn’t take. Two “f”s and a three dozen other swear words make this most appropriate for high schools and more urban middle schools – Its already in paperback, so if you do buy it, buy at least three copies, because it will always be in demand. MS-OPTIONAL; HS-ESSENTIAL

 

Shreve, Susan Kiss Me Tomorrow 160 p. Scholastic – Alyssa “Blister” Reed is starting 7th grade and everything has changed around her. Her mother has a new boyfriend and they are moving to a new house together. Her best friend, Jonah, is following the popular boys around trying to break into the crowd. Then, Jonah gets arrested for stealing. Blister is sure that the older boys are using him and that the cool, cute boy across the street knows more than he is telling. A cute book for younger girls. EL, MS –OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shreve, Susan Under the Watson’s Porch 199 p. – Ellie Tremont is bored until she meets Tommy, the older boy who seems to lead a more exciting life. Together they plan a summer camp with the little kids in the neighborhood. I lost my attention in those book and I can’t just make myself finish it. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shull, Megan Amazing Grace, 247 p. – The night before the start of the U.S. Open, “Ace” calls her mother and says, “I want out.” With those three words, Grace Kincaid disappears from public view – whisked off to a small Alaskan town to live with Ava Grady and to try to live, if just for a short time, as a normal human being, finding friends and love along the way. Ms. Shull pulls off a very well written book that does not resort to sappiness or snippiness. Though the potential existed to hate Grace for her looks, talent, and riches, instead she is a very sympathetic character, who grows up very nicely. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shulman, Polly Enthusiasm, 198 p. Speak (Penguin), 2007. Julie’s best friend Ashleigh has discovered the joys of Julie’s favorite book, Pride and Prejudice, and has enthusiastically embraced a new distraction. After a clandestine foray to crash a ball at the local private boys’ school, both girls fall in like with the same boy. But Julie, as she always does, moves out of her best friend’s way, even though her heart tells her not to. Pretty cute, especially for those who are addicted to Jane Austen already. A harmless addition to a upper level collection. MS, HS – OPTIONAL

 

Shusterman, Neal Dread Locks, 164 p. – Parker Baer is rich and bored. Then the mysterious Tara, with her sunglasses-covered eyes, arrives and adds some excitement to his life. Tara starts stirring things up and people start acting strange. When the captain of the football team turns to stone, Parker has to decide if he wants revenge on all of his enemies and join Tara in her destiny, or if he can possibly stop her – an immortal. Another Cirque du Freak type creepiness. It looks like Christopher Pike’s style has cycled in again. Shusterman is applying the horror twist to familiar fairy tales. At least two more are coming. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shusterman, Neal Duckling Ugly, 211 p. – Cara DeFideo is uglier than a human being should ever be. Ostracized at her high school, she one day receives a mysterious message telling her to “Find the Answers.” Cara resists, until she is humiliated at her prom. She runs away and discovers a community where she may find a place to belong. But when she goes back to her hometown to say goodbye, she sets in motion a chain reaction that may leave her with no place in the world. Nicely done! I am really enjoying this entire series (Dark Fusion). Well written, Mr. Shusterman! MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Shusterman, Neal Everlost, 313 p. Simon Schuster – Nick and Allie do not survive the head-on car crash; instead they seem to be doomed to wander earth. They meet other lost souls who have agendas of their own for the pair, but together they question and probe and force everything to change. Shusterman has crated another incredible reality full of richness and depth. Though it is very tense and scary in parts, the whole is extremely satisfying. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

 

Shusterman, Neal The Schwa was Here, 228 p. – Anthony befriends a quiet young man known as The Schwa, so quiet that only 1 in 5 people even can see him. It isn’t until the boys meet the blind granddaughter of a crotchety old man that Schwa finds someone who he thinks can accept him as he is. But nothing in Schwa’s life is meant to be smooth. A very cute book that many kids will enjoy. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sidman, Joyce This is Just to Say, illustrated by Pamela Zagaenski PICTURE BOOK – A sixth grade class writes poems as a way to ask forgiveness of someone they need to apologize to. To their surprise, most of their addressees answer back poetically too. At first I was charmed by the heartfelt (usually) poems in their many styles and the darling illustrations that went along with them. Then I read more carefully and realized that the whole set up was a fake – and I felt betrayed. Why authors and their editors go through this whole charade of setting up such a convincing façade, I will not know. At this point I am having a hard time going back and being objective about the set. Except, the poems are charming and the illustrations are adorable. Maybe since you now know the set up is fake, you can enjoy them for what they are. I do, however like the assignment of writing poems as apologies, and English teachers can always use another good idea. EL, MS – OPTIONAL

 

Siegelson, Kim L. Trembling Earth 152 p. – Hamp’s father left the swamps of Florida to fight in the American Civil War and returns with one less leg. Hamp hears of a huge reward for the return of a runaway slave and follows the boy’s tracks, but ends up being taken captive and forced to help the boy to safety. A subtle book about the conflicts of heart caused by slavery and the War. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sierra, Judy Born to Read Knopf, Borzoi Books. 2006. PICTURE BOOK. Sam loves to read. He reads in bed, at the mall, in the tub, and a lot of other crazy places. When a bike race comes to town, his reading even helps him to win the race. But, when a baby giant comes to town and takes all of the children’s toys, will Sam be able to use his book smarts to save the town? Cute illustrations and the text is short and fun to read. There is a lot of rhyming and the book is really cheesy. This would, however be a great book to give to beginning and reluctant readers. Despite its cheesy nature, the book does have a good message and helps to inspire young readers. Although not essential to a classroom’s collection, this would make a fun read aloud book when children get discouraged. EL (PREK-2) – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira, Children’s Librarian-WHI Public Library.

 

Sill, Cathryn About Marsupials, illustrated by John Sill. Peachtree, 2006. PICTURE BOOK. This quick introduction to marsupials is a good intro for either elementary or middle school students who will be studying animal families. The text itself is enough, but there is explanatory text in the back of the book for more indepth info on each species. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

 

Silverman, Erica Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, illustrated by Betsy Lewin. Harcourt, 2008. Cowgirl Kate and her horse Cocoa have a close relationship in this four-episode book about their adventures in the rain. Kate keeps Cocoa in line when there are chores to do and when he thinks it’s a good idea to go out into the rain without protective gear. Emergent readers learn some things about life on a ranch, and brightly colored illustrations enhance the fun. EL – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Beverly Stout, Elementary Library Specialist.

 

Simmons, Michael Finding Lubchenko, 281 p. – When Evan’s father is jailed under suspicion of murder, Evan decides with two of friends to pursue the real villain. This book just left me cold. Evan’s father is a cold-hearted billionaire who has no time nor consideration for his son. Evan as a character, with his lying thieving ways has no appeal for and I can not fathom why he spares his father one ounce of concern and puts himself in danger. Very disappointing considering I like Pool Boy so much. HS-VERY OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Simmons, Michael Pool Boy – Brett’s father is arrested for insider trading. To help make ends meet, he gets a summer job cleaning the very pools he has grown up swimming in.  ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Singer, Marilyn Cats to the Rescue, 154 pages Henry Holt – Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G – True stories about cats that have performed amazing feats or caused what seemed to be miracles in war, medicine, disaster, or in the wilderness, as well as in other extreme situations. Aside from that, this book has also mixed in various legends and interesting facts about cats, or sometimes reasoning how the amazing things they have accomplished could have been possible. Sometimes books like this can all end up sounding quite similar. However, I thought this one was an exceptional grouping of stories, and the author put in other things not just related to the stories to keep you interested and keep you learning something new. EL – ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer: KR

 

Singer, Marilyn City Lullaby, illustrated by Carll Cneut PICTURE BOOK Clarion, 2007. This bright, funny countdown book documents the lullaby sounds of the city, following a sleeping baby in its stroller. Little children will enjoy finding the baby carriage in picture and counting the objects on the crowded, funky pages. EL – OPTIONAL

 

Singer, Marilyn, ed. Make Me Over, 191 p. – 11 short stories from wonderful authors showing teens transforming themselves. Some of them are light, some of them are very powerful. Lucky Six, for example is about a young woman who takes care of her five younger siblings for her crack-addled mother and who works as stripper to make enough money to get the kids out of there. Vision Quest is about a girl who in a search for who she really is. And Bedhead Red, Peekaboo Pink is about an average looking guy thinks he just may have a chance with a hot-looking blind girl. A couple fo the stories use mature language and Lucky Six in very frank in its portrayal of the young stripper. But I think, especially in high schools, this would be a worthy acquisition. MS-your choice, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Singleton, Linda Joy Last Dance, 242 p. – Sabine is searching for a cure for her grandmother’s illness. In order to save her, she must try to reunite four branches of the family that were separated four generations earlier. Off chasing a lead, Sabine finds herself drawn to the death of a woman, Chloe, 30 years earlier, who comes back each year to haunt the small town she grew up in. Because Sabine has the power to see the future, she may be able to help this ghost with the mysterious past. Second in the Seer series. A good addition to a fantasy collection that includes titles set in modern days. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Singleton, Sarah Out of the Shadows, 252 p. Clarion, 2006. More thana hundered years ago, Isabella and her younger brother fled the mortal world for the land of faerie, in order to escape persecution. Now Isabella has returned to the human world, and there she finds another young girl in danger of prejudice, a young Catholic in a land of Protestants. Together, they might find a way for both of them to have lives full of wonder. Unfortunately, Isabella’s story did not hold my attention. It neither details the risks that Catholics faced, nor did it create a tale of wonder. NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher

 

Singleton, Sarah Out of the Shadows, 252pgs. Clarion Books- Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG. A green lump stirs in the forest. You can hardly tell what it is. All of the leaves drift away revealing a girl. Isabella Leland had no idea where she was or what she was doing there. She looked like part of the forest. One day a girl comes to visit the shrine by the place Isabella appeared. Elizabeth Dyer is shocked to find a girl there, but is not scared. Elizabeth never was liked in society and Isabella was just about as odd as they got. They have to work together to save the things most important to them. People always say, “Never judge a book by its cover.” I think this is one of those books that will be judged. It is hardly fair because this book was very well written. I loved how it was placed during Elizabethan times; historical fiction is always great to read because of how the author interprets it. MS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CW

 

Sinykin, Sheri Giving up the Ghost; Pages 227; Published by: Peachtree, Language: PG, Violence: PG Sexual Content: G- Davia is thirteen and is scared of almost everything but especially the chance of her mother’s cancer coming back. Davia and her parents go to Louisiana for the summer to help take care of her Great- Aunt on her old plantation. Louisiana and the neighboring states are still stricken with grief and destruction after Hurricane Katrina. Davia and her parents have a rough time at first with Aunt Mari because of her sharp tongue and mean backhand. Davia is still as scared as ever and gets even more when she meets Emilie, a young ghost from the nineteenth century who lives in the Big House on her Aunt’s plantation. Will Davia help Emilie find a way to rest in peace and learn about her family history before her Great- Aunt passes on? This was an amazing book one of the best I have read yet this year! I could not put it down. Full of suspense and scary moments this book grabbed my attention from the very start. Completely amazing. It also shows how many people went and helped after Hurricane Katrina and how it affected everyone. Amazing book. MS, HS- ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: AN

 

Sis, Peter The Wall PICTURE BOOK Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. DO not mistake this for a children’s picture book. It is much too sophisticated and complex for small children. Instead, this would be a great supplementary study book for a World History class, European History or a unit of study on life behind the Iron curtain. Even an art history class could use to talk about the importance of creative expression in wartime. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

 

Sitomer, Alan Lawrence The Hoopster, 218 p. – This book as pretty much nothing to do with basketball. It is a story about a young man who finds the words to powerfully talk about racism in many forms and other people who try to shut him up for good. While not excellent, it is a good story BUT the author felt the need to have the boys talk about their body parts. I realize the author is probably just copying typical streetball trash talk, but it won’t work in my community. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Skeers, Linda The Impossible Patriotism Project, pictures by Ard Hoyt. Penguin, 2007. PICTURE BOOK. Caleb’s class is very busy creating projects for parent’s night. The theme is a patriotism and though his classmates seem to be inspired and actively constructing, Caleb is sad and blocked, especially because his dad, a soldier, can’t be there with him. Whiel this book gives no definitive answers, it certainly can spark a great discussion about just what patriotism might be. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

 

Sleator, William Hell Phone, 256 p. Abrams – Nick scraps together the money to buy a cheap cell phone, but it is directly wired to someone who is in hell. He tries not to listen to the voices on the other end, but ends up doing their bidding, the consequence being his girlfriend turns him in for murder and he is executed. But that’s not the end. Besides the word “hell”, there are no other swear words in this book. It will probably be a favorite for reluctant readers, just for the title, but I didn’t think it was one of Sleator’s better works. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sleator, William The Boy Who Couldn’t Die, 162 p. – Freaked out by his best friend’s death, Ken finds find himself a witch doctor who promises to make him invincible. Fully satisfied with his new immortal state, Will becomes spooked by strange dreams, where he does some horrible things. On a family trip to the Caribbean, he meets a girl who explains to him that Ken is now a living zombie and that he must immediately find out where his soul is being kept so that he can return to the land of the living. Nto my favorite Sleator. Still freaky, which makes him so popular. Also a little mure mature than Sleator’s past works. I would wait for this one in paperback. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sleator, William The Last Universe, 215 p. – Susan’s brother Gary is dying and the doctors can’t help him. When Gary insists that Susan help him visit the pond on their property, strange events start. Together with Susan’s friend Lisa, the kids explore a mysterious maze that actually embodies quantum mechanics, changing reality. The more the kids mess with the maze, the more complicated things get. I admit that the beginning of the book is slow – slow enough that I was getting bored. Once the kids started messing with the maze and searching out new realities, then things finally got interesting. I could have wished for fewer scientific lectures and more explanation through action. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sloan, Brian A Really Nice Prom Mess, 297 pgs. Simon Pulse. Language-PG-13 (about 25 uses of the “f” word); Sexual Content-PG; Violence-G. Cameron’s boyfriend insists that he goes to prom with a girl in order to hide the fact that they are gay. With one kiss, the entire evening changes in to the craziest prom night ever, including car chases, dance contests, and a very unlikely romances. Because of the high adventure, it was very easy to get through the book. There was just action after action that pulled you in to the story very fast. The characters were very well developed, and very similar to someone that you will see in high school. There was a lot of drinking and a little bit of drug abuse, which may be something you need to watch out for. HS-ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: KD

 

Smith, Cynthia Leitich Tantalize 311 p. – Language: R (about 22 pgs have swearing); Sexuality: PG13; Violence: PG13 – Tantalize is about a girl who lives with her uncle and is helping to run her family restaurant. Of course there are problems when their old chef is murdered just before their re-opening, and have to find a new chef to take over the vampire-themed cuisine. Usually I’m not interested in restaurant themed books, but this one kept my attention. It was unique and I had fun reading it.; I just wish didn’t didn’t have so much swearing MS, HS – NO Student Reviewer: JN

 

Smith, Linda Mrs. Biddlebox: Her Bad Day and What She Did About It! Illustrated by Marla Frazee PICTURE BOOK Harcourt, 2002. Mrs. Biddlebox woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Instead of getting angry, she gets even – gathering up for bad feelings and baking them into a scrumptious cake. With the right teacher, this cute little book could be a great object lesson about bad moods and moving on. Ready made lesson for an Advisory program. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

 

Smith, Roland Jack’s Run, 246 p. – Release: September 2005. Sequel to Zach’s Lie. After the last fiasco, Jack and his family have new identities and Alonzo Aznar is in jail awaiting trial. Jack goes to stay with his sister as she starts college, but Joanne makes the mistake of auditioning for a televised talent search and ends up on the national news, where Alonzo sees her and sends his henchmen to finish off the family for good. Quite fun and very intense. Fans of the first book will also adore this one. MS, HS _ ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Smith, Roland Elephant Run, 320 p. Hyperion – In order to escape the London bombings during WWII, Nick is sent to Burma, to his father’s teak plantation – just before the Japanese invade and capture the country. Nick’s father is imprisoned, his plantation and the elephants are turned over to a traitor and Nick is made into a slave of a Japanese Colonel. With the help of a wandering monk and his granddaughter, Nick may survive the war and rescue his father. As bildungsromans go, this one is pretty awesome, as Nick endures his captivity and then stubbornly insists on rescuing his father. I am worried, however, that this one doesn’t pace as well as Smith other novels, and may turn students off at the beginning. A class studying Japan’s role in WWII would be well served with this as a read-aloud or as part of a suggested reading list. MS – OPTIONAL

 

Smith, Roland Peak, 256 p. Harcourt – After Peak Marcello is arrested for climbing a sky-scraper, he is sent to live with his father, who leads expeditions to climb Mount Everest. Peak quickly learns that his father is only using him as a publicity stunt – Peak could be the youngest ever to reach the summit. Peak presses on, however, with the help of Zopa, retired sherpa – now monk, and Zopa’s grandson Sun-jo, who is only a few days older than Peak. Perfect adventure fiction done fantastically, the Roland Smith way. MS – ESSENTIAL

 

Smith, Sherwood Emerald Wand of Oz, 262 p. – Dori and Em, many-greats granddaughters of the original Oz voyager Dorothy Gale, are propelled to Oz by another tornado. There they join forces with many old favorites and a few newbies to battle against a new Wicked Witch of the West to return Glinda and Ozma’s intelligence. Em, the skeptic, is converted to Oz belief when she encounters a freshwater mermaid. Dori, the believer, is not sure that she ever wants to go home. It feels like there may be further Oz adventures for these two. Smith does a good job of paying homage to the flavor of the originals without the stilted prose that makes it hard for me to re-read them. (I actually prefer Ruth PlumlyThompson’s Oz books over Baum’s) If you already have afollowing for the Oz books in your library or a large fantasy readership, I would say go for it. Otherwise, buy it if you have the funds. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sniegoski, Tom Sleeper Code, 278 p. AND Sleeper Agenda, 300 p. Penguin – Tom Lovett has a severe form of narcolepsy – a disease that makes him fall asleep with no notice. Then he stops taking his medicine and sets forces in motion that reveal that his disease also covers up an implanted personality that commits murder for hire. His “creator” has become an enemy of the federal government which funded the original research. Only together can Tom and his alter ego prevail, but “Tyler Garrett” has plans of his own. Excellent spy novel stuff. Two books only, already out in paperback. Get them today! MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Snow, Alan Here Be Monsters Pages: 529 (Don’t be intimidated. The print is huge and there are illustrations on almost every page); Language: PG (3 words, each used once–rather mild) – Arthur, while on an expedition to “gather” food from the world above the ground, gets caught by a kind gentleman; however, he gets mixed up in a plot that will decide the fate of RatBridge! When new secrets are brought out, the fate of the undergroundlings may also be in danger. I hated the book. Yes, I flat out hated it. The plot was boring and it dragged on without anything interesting happening. Younger kids may find it humorous, or at least enjoyable. But for a teenage library, the answer is a definite no. EL-OPTIONAL Student Reviewer: KH

 

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley The Unseen, 199 p. – In the woods one day, 12 year old Xandra rescues a mysterious white bird, which only leaves behind one perfect feather. When she enlists the help of a quiet, secretive schoolmate Belinda, bad things start to happen. And Xandra refuses to take on responsibility for her own actions and mean-spirited thoughts, finally forcing Belinda and her grandfather to run from the suspicions of the neighbors. Though I like the idea of a magic power that shows you what is inside (and Xandra is VERY angry), unfortunately Xandra learns nothing froms her experiences and remains very one-dimensional. EL. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Snyder, Zilpha Keatly The Treasures of Weatherby, 213 pg Atheneum – Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G – Harleigh is wondering around the grounds of the Weatherby Mansion when he meets Allegra. Together they embark on an adventure to find the Great Weatherby Treasure. Harleigh learns more about himself, the house he lives in, and the people that live there with him. It is a fun adventure as you take flight with Harleigh and Allegra through the Weatherby House and the treasures it holds. EL-OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: HD

 

Sokoloff, Alexandra The Harrowing, 243 p. St. Martin’s – Five college students find themselves depressed and alone on a stormy Thanksgiving eve. While not friends, they are drawn together and within the power of a spirit they contact through a Ouija board. Some are skeptic and others believe, but all of them will have to be brave in order for any of them to survive. A compelling, gruesome horror novel that is marred by large amounts of sex talk and swearing. NO

 

Sorrells, Walter Club Dread, 266 p. – Chass and her mother have fled to San Francisco and established new identities. Then one day Chass is witness to a murder and then gets sucked into a glittery underworld with a twisted plot. As Chass gets sucked in , she doesn’t know that Kyle Van Epps is about to reappear in her life in a very big way. Far fetched and fantastic in many ways. Whereas the first book in the series was pretty believable, this one is full of unbelievable characters and situations. Fans of the first will read it, but be aware that it is just a big set-up for book number three, doing absolutely nothing to further the bigger plot. MS-PAPERBACK. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sorrells, Walter Fake ID, 310 p. – Every time she and her mother change towns, she also has to change names. This has been “Chastity Pureheart’s” (PLEASE call me Chass) life since she was too young to remember. This time Chass has defied her mother in a big way – learning to play guitar and even recording a demo to send to producers; Chass’ mother has never lit her listen to much music. Then one day, Chass’ mother disappears and with her disappearance digs up another mystery that will hurt more people than they know, including the one friends Chass had ever made. Dark secrest are about to be revealed and someone’s life is in danger. As well written as Alex Flinn’s Nothing to Lose or Roland Smith’s Zach’s Lie. You need this on your shelves! MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sorrels, Walter First Shot, 280 p. Dutton (Penguin), 2007. David’s family has always been a prestigious part of his boarding school. His father is the headmaster and several generations of grandfathers have taken the “First Shot”, the shot at graduation that always hits the bullseye. David’s mother was murdered two years earlier and the case has not been solved. He thinks his father did it; but his father is hiding thoughts of his own. Neither of them know the really deep secrets that are hiding on campus. But everything is about to be exposed. Sorrells has written and tight and tense novel that is sure to be widely read. Not a word out of place, except for the murder, but plenty of action and drama. MS – ESSENTIAL

 

Spalding, Andrea Heart of the Hill, 182 p. – 3rd in the series. Adam, Owen, Holly and Chantel are being called to Glastonbury Hill to walk the ancient labyrinth to open the hill and retrieve Merlin’s staff. Two ancient evils stand in their way. A worthy sequel, especially for elementary students. Book 4 is due out sometime in 2006. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Spalding, Andrea The Dance of Stones – The second in the Summer of Magic Quartet (see below). I’m not going to tell you anything, because I am not going to give anything away. Just get them! MS,EL-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Spalding, Andrea The White Horse Talisman – Adam and Chantel have been sent to England for the summer to stay with their cousins, Holly and Owen, while their parents go through a trial separation. One night 7-year-old Chantel sees a light show in the sky and on a trail ride the next day, she hears a voice in her head, which sets the children off on an adventure to save the Wise Ones from the Dark One. First in a series. MS,EL-ESSENTIAL. . Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Speck, Katie Maybelle in the Soup, 58 p. Henry Holt, 2007. Maybelle is a cockroach with a refined palette. Instead of leftovers and crumbs, she really wants prepared food. Her friend He ry the flea tries to discourage her, but Maybelle turns things topsy-turvy when she chooses the night of an important dinner party to make her move. If you liked Ratatouille, you will enjoy this book. It is a very quick little read. EL – ADVISABLE

 

Spencer, Katherine More than Friends, 215 p. Harcourt, 2008. Grace’s life is back on track (Saving Grace) and Philomena has talked her into getting a job at Alternate Realities – a local everything store. Plus, Grace is now in closer contact with Jackson, her brother’s best friend, and sparks have begun to fly. Grace knows that Philomena has been a good friend to her, but now may be her time to learn how to reach out to help others. Grace learns a lot about what it takes to help someone else really decide to change and helps herself along the way. Fans of the first book will find this one a bit quieter (Grace is through rebelling), but the problems addressed are just as compelling. MS, HS – ADVISABLE

 

Spencer, Katherine Saving Grace, 246 p. Harcourt, 2007. Grace’s brother Max died in a senseless accident. Each day she struggles to understand why, but her feelings of emptiness turn her from her, friends, her parents and from God. A new girl in school seems to always be there to support her, especially during her most self-destructive moments. Grace is not sure where her life is heading, but she made need a miracle to have any life at all. A fantastic story of grief and pain and dealing with death. There are a couple of swear words and during her self-destructive time, Grace does indulge in drugs, heavy drinking and serious making out (“hands up her shirt”). But it all makes perfect sense in context and presents it all without titillation or sensationalism. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL (but be aware)

 

Spillebeen, Gert Kipling’s Choice, 147 p. – At the start of WWI, Rudyard Kipling pulls strings so that his extremely near-sighted, physically challenged son has a chance to serve in the Great War. After a stint at boot camp and officer’s training, young John Kipling performs admirably during his first encounter, but is fatally wounded right at the end. Flashbacks through John’s life are interspersed with scenes of the author’s speculation of what might have been going through John’s mind as he lay there dying. John Kipling’s body was never recovered. The most compelling parts are the imaginings of John’s mind as he slowly dies. The rest of it is so much window dressing. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Spinelli, Jerry Eggs, 220 p. Little, Brown, 2007. Young David’s mother dies and now he lives with his grandmother, and sees his busy father occasionally. Primrose, a teen, lives in a small, dirty house with only her mother and makes a space for herself in a rusted out junk car. The two meet unexpectedly and despite their age difference, form a shaky friendship, based more on mutual mistrust, than any genuine desire to be friends. But some how the two need each other. This is one of those books that adults will think kids should love. And maybe some of them will, but not for the same reasons as the adults. I personally found it disappointing. EL, MS – OPTIONAL

 

Spinelli, Jerry Milkweed – The boy doesn’t know his name, so goes by “Micha”, the name given to him by a group of street boys in Warsaw Poland, just before Hitler invades during WWII. ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Spirin, Gennady We Three Kings PICTURE BOOK Atheneum (Simon and Schuster), 2007. All five verses of “We Three Kings” are beautifully illustrated in watercolors that exude a richness usually found in oils. A perfect book for a Christmas collection with a religious slant. EL, MS – OPTIONAL

 

Spizman, Robyn Secret Agent, 231 p. – Kyle’s mom has kicked his father out of the house. She is sick and tired of the six years he has spent doing nothing but write the “great American novel” and tend a small bookstore part time, while she is the major breadwinner. Kyle decides to take matters into his own hands by turning himself and his friends into secret agents – book agents representing the next great writing talent. A cute book which I am sure flattered the publisher’s representatives greatly. Well worth purchasing, but maybe in paperback. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Spradlin, Michael Spy Goddess: Live and Let Shop, 210 p. – Beverly Hills native Rachel is caught in a stolen car – abandoned by all of her friends. The juvenile justice court judge gives Rachel a choice: Juvenile Detention for a month or a year at the mysterious Blackthorn Academy. Rachel opts for Blackthorn, thinking that she can just run and hide. But the on the ball principal of the Academy has other plans for Rachel. This one looked so silly that I couldn’t get myself to read it. But then my daughter and my son both read it and told me how fantastic it was, so I gave it a chance. So glad! Rachel is pretty annoying at the beginning, but she finds her groove. Fun EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Springer, Nancy Blood Trail – Jeremy’s best friend Nathan is brutally murdered. When Jeremy implicates Nathan’s twin, the mood in the town turns ugly. This book is excellent, but graphic. If your students have weak stomachs, this might not be for them. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Springer, Nancy Rowan Hood Returns, 168 p. – Severely crippled during the last installment of the series, Rowan decides it is time to seek vengeance against the men who killed her mother. With or without the help of her father or her friends, she is determined to make it back to the forest of her birth and will come up against her family’s greatest foe. As worthy as any title in the rest of the series. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Springer, Nancy Wild Boy: A tale of Rowan Hood, 115 p. – Rowan and Robin Hood are again minor characters in these books that follow the lives of various members of Rowan’s “gang”. This time Rook, whose father was killed by the Sheriff of Nottingham, has life and death power over Tod, the Sheriff’s son. These short tales are almost short stories, but add an interesting depth to the Robin Hood legend for huge fans of the hero. EL, MS – ADVISABLE (especially if you already have all of the others in the series). Cindy, Library Teacher

 

St. George, Judith Stand Tall Abe Lincoln, illustrated by Matt Faulkner. PICTURE BOOK. Philomel (Penguin), 2008. Ms. St. George’s book concentrates on the childhood of Abraham Lincoln in the backwoods of Kentucky, as he struggles with his mother’s death and as he tries to get an education along with all the other work that must be done. The colorful illustrations add charm to the detailed narrative of Lincoln’s young life. This will be an excellent read-aloud for President’s day or just for a unit on the presidents. EL – ESSENTIAL, MS – ADVISABLE

 

St. George, Judith Mystery Isle, 181 p. Puffin (Penguin), 1967, 2007. Kim, 12, and her mother have been invited to visit have been invited to Shag Island for the summer to help get the family home ready for sale. At least that’s what they think. Great-Grandpa is having nothing to do with the sale of his home. Kim’s curiosity leads to some very old records, but also unlocks a secret that someone will kill to keep a mystery. Retitled and repackaged in paperback for today’s market, this is an easy buy for upper elementary or middle schools. EL, MS – OPTIONAL

 

St. James, James Freak Show, 298 p. Billy Bloom has left New York City for an ultra-conservative private high in Florida. Although he tries extra hard to dress down and fit in, his flamboyant ways attract hostility, until a star football player takes his side. When Billy alienates his new friend, he falls into a funk – until he regroups and decides to take a stand – and run for homecoming queen. Billy’s flamboyant ways are a treat to read, especially the descriptions of his fantastic outfits. The message is definitely needed. Unfortunately they are accompanied with a copious amount of swear words and some described sexual situations. NO

 

Stadler, Alexander Julian Rodriguez: Trash Crisis on Earth! 123 p. Scholastic, 2008. Sent to study earthlings, Julian is a space alien living inside the body of an 8-year-old human. In his reports to the mothership, he relates his torturous experience eating human food and continually being bossed around by the “Evilomami,” who happens to be a human mother. Readers will surely relate to Julian’s frustration with his “maternal unit.” The format of this book, a combination of fiction and graphic novel, will draw readers in. A light, quick read, this book will leave readers awaiting the next adventure of Julian Rodriguez. Grades 4 – 6. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Debby Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher.

 

Stahler, David Jr. Doppelganger, 258 p. – After living in a remote mountain cabin for his sixteen years, his mother kicks him out into the world to find his own destiny. As a doppelganger, he is compelled to kill and take on the form of a human being. When he is attacked by a brutal teenage boy, the choice is easy. But now he must take up the boy’s life, including the intricacies of high school and a girlfriend. Along the way he discovers love, or the possibility of love and tries hard to make a change for the better. Though the idea of doppelgangers is creepy, Stahler approaches the thought from a more introspective point of view, which raises this book above a horror novel. It does mention, but does not describe a sexual encounter. I want to try this book out on a middle school boy, because I wonder if they will be disappointed by the turn the narrative takes – thoughtful rather than slasher. We’ll have to see. MS-PAPERBACK. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stahler, David Jr. Otherspace, 342 p. Harper, 2008. Jacob wants to settle into a life with Xander and Delaney, but when the Company comes looking for him, he runs for the stars, searching for safety and following a mysterious impulse. Jacob brings danger with him, however and wit, luck and companionship will need to combine to save him. And to save all of the other Blinders who are now Seers. Stahler’s third book took a much different turn from the first. While Truesight was a social/psychological drama, Otherspace is definitely a space-faring Science Fiction book. I don’t two and three as fabulous as #1, but they are still solid for their type. MS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher

 

Stahler, David Jr. The Seer, 248 p. HarperCollins – RELEASE: April 2007. Jacob has left the colony of the Blinded only makes his way safely through Sighted society with the help of a gruff older man. The discover that Delaney is being held in a gilded cage by an unscrupulous man who wants to make money off her beautiful playing send the pair into danger. Jacob thought that leaving his home would be difficult, but his life as a Seer is just beginning to complicate matters. The novel has the feeling of a middle book that needs to set up the action for the third. Having waited this long for this sequel, I was a little disappointed and I can only hope that number three is worth the wait. MS – ADVSIABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stahler, David, Jr. Truesight – Harmony, a frontier town on a far off colonial planet is a refugee for people without sight, most of them born that way, but some who are blind by choice. Jacob, blind from birth, discovers many of the colonies dark secrets, as his sight spontaneously regenerates, before he makes the mistake of confiding his newfound eyesight to his best friend. EL, MS ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stahler, Davis Jr. A Gathering of Shades, 289 p. – After his father dies, Aidan and his mother come to live on his grandmother’s farm. When Aidan discovers that she has the power to see and talk with ghosts, Aidan sets off in pursuit of his father. Though the depiction of Aidan’s and his mother’s grief is powerful, you have to wade through dozens of swear words to get there. I just don’t know people who talk like this. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Standiford, Natalie Elle Woods: Blonde at Heart, 233 p. – Elle Woods has been a mousy, unfashionable wallflower for 16 years. Then she falls in love with the captain of the Beverly Hills High basketball team and changes come into her life as she makes over the cheerleaders, the basketball team, the band and eventually the entire school. If you can just swallow the sheer unbelievability of the whole thing, the book is pretty dang cute. Girls who love the Legally Blonde movies will also enjoy this straight to paperback novel. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stanley, Elizabeth The Deliverance of Dancing Bears PICTURE BOOK Kane/Miller, 2003. A muzzled and caged bear dreams of her old life in the forest. Cruelly treated by her owner, she is forced to dance in the streets for money. One day an old man pays to free her, tends her wounds and returns her to the forests. Based on the true stories of dancing bears throughout Turkey and Greece, heralding the ending of an illegal activity that is no longer tolerated. Beautiful and useful on almost any level, whether teaching a unit about animals, about Turkey, or treating the world with kindness. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE

 

Stanely, George E. George S. Patton, 177 pgs. Aladdin Paperbacks, Language-G, Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; George S. Patton has always wanted to be a soldier like his dad. He gets into a military school but he as to work extra hard because he has dyslexia. Despite his problem he still became a great war hero and this book shows it. I thought that this book was great. I really enjoyed reading it. Most of the time I don’t like to read biographies but I did like this one. It was very interesting. ES, MS, HS-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: MB.

 

Stasheff, Christopher The Warlock’s Last Ride p. 314 – Gwendolyn, is dying. Magnus comes home for the first time in ten years to say goodbye to his mother. His father, denying his grief puts Magnus in charge of the family and heads off on a quest to find Tir Nan Og and reunite with his beloved. Magnus, meanwhile, must deal with his siblings animosity and suspicion AND an attempted palace coup by a group of anarchists and totalitarians from off planet who want to ruin all of the work that Magnus’ father has built over the years. Ok-if you don’t have the rest of Stasheff’s books, don’t buy this one. You need to have read all of the others in order to enjoy this one. But I loved it, because I own and have read them all. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

 

Staub, Wendy Corsi Lily Dale: Awakening, 228 p. Walker (Bloomsbury), 2007. Embarrassing breakup with her boyfriend, mom is dead and now Calla’s father is shipping her off to live with her grandmother while he moves them to a whole new state. Things are weird in Lily Dale; almost every resident is a psychic. Calla is skeptical, except that she starts having visions of her own. Now she wants to know the family’s secrets. Callas story is well worth reading. It’s a perfect title for your vampire, ghost and spook-loving readers. MS – ADVISABLE

 

Stead, Rebecca First Light, 336 p. Wendy Lamb (Random) – Thea has spent all of he rlife hidden under the great Artic icecap, but in her heart, she has always wanted to see the sunrise. Unfortunately, no one knows of a way to the surface. Peter, leaves the bustling New York City to join his parents on an expedition to Greenland. Hi sis worried about how his mothers “spells” of headaches will affect the trip. In some expected and some unexpected ways, these two will meet and change both of their lives and the existence of Thea’s entire world. First rate science fiction fantasy. The only thing that bothered me was that the “peril” that Thea’s ancestors originally fled really didn’t feel important nor dire. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. MS, HS – ADVISABLE

 

Steele, J.M. The Market, 328, Hyperion, Language – Pg13; Sexual Content – PG, Violence – G, Review – Kate Winthrop recently discovered a site online where every girl in her senior class has been ranked. Out of 140 girls her spot was 71. Infuriated she and her friends devise a plan to help her climb the ranks and get into the top twenty, maybe even to number one. I liked this one but besides the part about the ranking thing it just the same old : Girl is loser, girl wants to be popular, girl becomes popular, girl gets rejected and goes back to any one of her friends that will forgive her for ditching them. MS, OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: AA

 

Stein, Tammar Light Years, 263 p. – Maya has left Israel to attend college at the University of Virginia. Besides leaving behind her family, she is also struggling to leave behind her grief at the death of her first love who died in a suicide bombing attack. Her peppy roommate seems a little too much for her at first and the though she starts to find interest in one of her TA’s, his ex-girlfriend’s jealousy puts distance between them. If it weren’t for the sex scenes, this would be an excellent book that I would love to have. Too bad. More adventurous schools, preferably high schools only, will have to judge this one for themselves. HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stenhouse, Ted Murder on the Ridge, 240 p. – An anonymous letter arrives in Will and Arthur’s hometown claiming that Wolfleg, a local Indian hero, was actually murdered during World War II, by someone from his own town. The boys turn to Will’s grandfather, a traditional Blackfoot, to help them find a way to discover the truth. I have not read the first two books about Will and Arthur, so I can’t say whether they also rely upon supernatural means to solve the mystery; I will have to go back and find out. The title will catch a student’s eye and the book will not disappoint. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stephens, J.B The Big Empty, Paradise City, Desolation Angels (3 books so far in the series), about 250 pages each. The entire world has been devastated by a deadly virus. The few pockets of humanity that remain have all been taken over by modern warlords who call themselves Managers – using, of course, a large amount of military force to keep everyone in line. In between these cities are large stretches of wastelands, populated by vicious gangs and a few small holdout communities. Into that mix, a small group of teenagers are trying to find a secret, safe place to be free. There are at least a few more books to come out in this series, as the action in each book is interesting, but only covers a small time period. This is a paperback series, so by all means buy it in paper and let kids read another version of life after a worldwide disaster. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stetoff, Rebecca Al Gore: Fighting for a Greener Planet, 45 p. Lerner, 2009. NON-FICTION. The short page count screams elementary, but the reading level is pretty high (ATOS 6.6) for younger readers. The best I can think is if you have a middle or high school reader who needs a short biography. The information is good; it has lots of pictures – I just wish it were aimed with more precision at a certain audience. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

 

Stevens, Janet Help Me, Mr. Mutt! 48 p. Harcourt, Inc. -G Mr. Mutt is a canine counselor who gives advice to dogs seeking help with their humans. Finding himself dressed in everything from bunny ears to wedding veils, Overdressed in Oklahoma is just one harried hound who seeks Mr. Mutt’s advice. Of course, the family cat in each instance, is the favored animal. Mr. Mutt’s replies invite the cat, known as Queen, to send him her own wicked responses to those dogs whom she thinks belittle the feline family. Children will love the illustrations which tie in perfectly with the text. Crazy sketches and graphs enhance the letters and responses. This book will definitely be a winner with children and adults. Grades 1-4 – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher

 

Stewart, Paul & Riddel, Chris Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf, 205 pgs. David Fickling Books, 2007. Launguage- PG; Sexual Content- G; Violence- PG; Barnaby is a tick-tock lad- he delivers packages anywhere, anytime, as fast as possible. One night however, a wolf beast attacks Barnaby and he barely excapes with his life. Now his friend Benjamin is gone and more attacks are occuring. Extreamly entertaining. It is a book you won’t want to stop reading until the very end. I can’t wait for the nest in the series to come out. The illistrations really put me into the story. MS -ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: RH

 

Stewart, Paul and Chris Riddell Lake of Skulls 139 p. – Jed, a down-on-his-luck knight, is persuaded to search for a cursed crown on the Island of Skulls. Short, a bit gruesome and perfect for lots of boy readers. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stewart, Paul and Chris Riddell The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwoods, 278 p. – All his life, Twig has thought that he was just a bad example of a troll. He doesn’t look or act like a real troll. Then just before he turns thirteen, his parents tell him that they found him in the woods, he’s not really a woodtroll and he has to leave the only home he knows. Stunned, he sets off into the Deepwoods and encounters many odd creatures – obstacles and helpmates on his way to his destiny. How cute can you get. An excellent array of odd creatures, with great drawings to fuel your imagination. MS,EL –ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stewart, Paul Midnight over Sanctaphrax, 361 p. – Twig has set off in his skyship over The Edge, with the help of a gigantic caterbird, in search of his father. Then he finds himself back in Sanctaphrax, glowing, with absolutely no memory, minus ship and crew. When he finally wakes up, he sets off in search of his crew, not realizing that there is something much more important for him to do. Third book in the series – great new characters and beasties! EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stewart, Paul Stormchaser, p. – Twig has been reunited with his father. When his father is sent off on a dangerous mission, Twig sneaks aboard the skyship and puts everything in danger. Second book in the Deepwoods series. Excellent writing and awesome, if sometimes gruesome, illustrations make this series a must have on any level. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stolarz, Laurie Faria Bleed 225 p. Hyperion – I suffered through 108 pages of this book before throwing in the towel on a confusing and nauseating haphazard tale of perversion and deceit. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stolarz, Laurie Faria Project 17, 248 p. Hyperion, 2007. Derik has a brilliant idea for an amateur film that just might propel him out of his tiny town and out from a life at his parent’s diner. With a few volunteers with agendas of their own he plans on filming at the state mental hospital the night before its demolition. None of the teens are prepared for the powerful emotions and sheer spookiness of the deserted buildings. Nor are they prepared for the sheer will of a young girl, who died, but wants her story to be known. Revelations and sheer terror abound, but more than 50 swears (including “f”) make this a hard pill to swallow. I can’t see a school library offering this at all. NO

 

Stolls, Amy Palms to the Ground, 244 p. – Calman has been visiting a therapist since he was 7 years old. The summer he is fourteen he goes to visit his pen pal Rizzy(Surprise! It’s a girl) in Washington. From the moment the family forgets to pick him up at the airport, Calman knows this is no ordinary trip. I have no fondness for Rizzy’s crass nature (“Look Ma, no penis”)nor her violent reaction towards her mother as she starts her period (maybe because I never hated my mother). The book really held no charm for me. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Stolz, Joelle The Shadows of Ghadames 118 p. – Like all of the girls and women of her culture. Malika has reached the age where she will spend her entire life on the rooftops of the city. When one of her mothers rescues a man who is being chased out of town and hides him on their roof, Malika learns to read and learns that there is much more to the world than the rooftops of Ghadames. A short, but interesting book on the Muslim culture. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Strahan, Johnathan The Starry Rift: Tales of New Tomorrows, 530, The Penguin Group, 2008. Language: PG-13, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG-13. The Starry Rift is an anthology of science fiction stories and even though I hadn’t heard of most of the authors featured in this book, I was hopeful about what I would read. Some of the stories were bad, some were good, some used too much profanity and others stayed away from the curse words. It all depended on what author you read and whether or not the story fit well together. HS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: MR

 

Strand, Ginger Flight 311 p. Simon and Schuster – Language- PG, Sexual content- PG 13, Violence- PG some threats by the husband but not too bad. Will Gruen with his family in Michigan on their own farm. But all he wants to do is fly. Flying airplanes is his career but until he was forced to retire because of his age. The family is going good and one of his daughters is getting married. But some surprising twists start to happen. This book was really great it had a lot of twists and turns which made it all the more interesting. I liked it a lot. MS optional Student Reviewer: AN

 

Strasser, Todd Mob Princess: For Money and Love, 195 pgs. Simon Pulse. Language-PG; Sexual Content-PG; Violence-G; Kate Blessing’s family is in the mob business. When her family’s group is threatened by the rival mob, she will have to make some important decisions between following her father’s orders or doing her own thing. This is definitely part of a series. At least 150 pages of this was just introduction to a bigger story that was to continue on in a sequel. There was not a lot of conflict, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you the climax point. I was also a little confused because the name on the back of the book for her father was not the same in the book. Although it was interesting to see a teen’s point of view on this profession, I wouldn’t get it unless you are willing to get the rest of the books in the series. MS-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: KD

 

Strasser, Todd Slide or Die, 198 p. – Angelina creates street racing cars from scratch and is interested in the quiet and handsome new boy in school, Kennin. Then one night at an illegal drift race, Kennin proves that he has the skills and attracts more attention than he wanted.

 

Strauss, Linda Leopold The Princess Gown, illustrated by Malen Reynolds Laugesen. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Hannah’s family has almost bankrupted themselves creating a fabulous gown for the princess’s wedding. The day before the final choosing of the gowns, little Hannah notices a smudge on the dress; the family may be ruined. But Hannah knows something about the princess that no one else does and a little surprise embroidery may just save the day. Little girl who love fairy tales will also love this princess book, which is more about the imagination and innovation than anything else. EL – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher

 

Strauss, Rochelle One Well: The Story of Water on Earth PICTURE BOOK Kids Can Press – A very detailed book on the many aspects of water on earth and in our lives. The science teachers at my middle school were very excited and impressed by the information. Would have to be read a bit at a time, otherwise the details could be very overwhelming. EL, MS- ESSENTIAL

 

Strickland, Brad Grimoire: Tracked by Terror 182p. Penguin, 2007. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; This book is second in the Grimoire Series. Jarvey Milton lost again in the pages of the Grimoire. He goes through a world where almost every one acts in a play. Then he goes to a world with animal guards and a mysterious hunt. This is a great book for elementary students. There isn’t one swear word in the entire book. Lots of action and mystery makes this book a great read. EL -ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: RH

 

Summers, Tamara He’s With Me, 224 p. Lexie likes Jake, but “Queen” Bree has set her sights on him as her summer boy toy. In order to escape Bree’s attention, Jake asks Lexie to pretend to be his girlfriend. Lexie jumps at the chance, but isn’t sure she can only pretend.

 

Sutherland, Tui Avatars: Shadow Falling, 356 p. The God pantheons of the avatars are determined to have their chosen representatives to get on with their fight to the death, but the human-reborn avatars, are not all so sure. Gus (Polynesian war god Oro) and Diana (the Greek Diana) are smitten, but a secret deal has her promised to the reborn Amon (Egyptian). Meanwhile, Kali (the Indian goddess) has some of her memories and her trainer is determined to have her kill off all of the others. Complicated, but lots of fun. This is teh second in the series. MS – OPTIONAL

 

Sutherland, Tui Avatars: So this is How it Ends, 368 p. HarperCollins – Five teens from different backgrounds are brought together by mysterious forces in what seems to be a future world – and they are the only people under 70 anywhere. The book becomes more interesting the closer the teens draw together. Teens will enjoy it more if they have a rudimentary knowledge of the major religions of the world and their accompanying gods structures. This first book was all setup for what will probably be a very violent and rousing sequel. HS, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Sutherland, Tui T. This Must Be Love 242 p. – Set in modern day high school, the cast of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” get involved in an all-male production of “Romeo and Juliet”. Told in journals, emails, phone calls and random narrative, This book should only be purchased in paperback or picked up as a freebie as a Scholastic Book Fair profit. I bet some of your girl readers will absolutely love it. MS – OPTIONAL, highly optional. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Swanson, Diane Bugs Up Close, photographed by Paul Davidson. Kids Can Press, 2007. PICTURE BOOK. The first thing that will catch your eye when you open this book are the highly detailed and tightly focused photographs of various “bugs”, which adorn every page. Once you get your fill of looking, you will find yourself reading, and learning, in simple language that is appropriate for every grade level, without any dumbing down of the information. Whether as introduction or reinforcement, any level science teacher would find many different lessons from this title. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

 

Swanson, Julie A. Going for the Record, 217 p. – Leah has scored a berth on the most important soccer team in her state – she’s on her way to a chance on the Olympic Women’s team. Then, she finds out that her father has cancer and has only three months to live. Soccer begins to seem unimportant has her father succumbs to greater pain and has more physical problems associated with his disease. Heartrending, excellent book. MS, EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

 

Swanson, Susan Marie To Be Like the Sun, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine PICTURE BOOK Harcourt, Inc., 2008. A young girl looks at a tiny little seed and is amazed that it will grow into a sunflower. In this story, we follow the progression of the sunflower from that tiny seed planted in the earth until it has become “your own sun up over my head.” Then the days lengthen and the sunflower becomes heavy with seed and as winter comes, only the picture on the fridge and the memory in the heart of the young girl remains. The illustrations follow the seasons and progress from sunny and bright to the reds and browns of fall and finally to the softer colors of winter. This story could be the impetus to a discussion of how things grow and also what happens in the various seasons. EL (1-3) – ADVISABLE. REVIEWER: SH

 

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