Lewis, J. Patrick.
New York : Schwartz Wade, 2014
Two of children’s poetry’s most prolific and entertaining writers pair up to bring you a collection of wild and wonderful poems about cars. But you won’t see these cars on the highway! The poets and illustrator Jeremy Holmes have created a fantastical world full of imaginary automobiles like the bathtub car, the banana split car and the eel-ectric car. Filled with word play, rollicking rhymes and illustrations that are even wackier than the poems that inspired them, this book is impossible to read only once! (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
LITTLE RED WRITING
New York : Chronicle Books, 2013
IL K-3, RL 3.4
Little Red Writing is a story about Little Red in Pencil School, where Ms. 2, her teacher, instructs the class on how to write a story. The other pencils, Birthday pencil, State pencil, and Basketball pencil, can’t wait to write their happy, nonfiction “Great State of Pencilvania,” stories. Ambitious Little Red truly wants to write an adventure story about a brave and courageous character, who journeys through the school, fighting evil to “save the day.” Little Red begins by traipsing through the gym, bouncing, boogieing, and finally cartwheeling into the “deep, dark, descriptive forest,” the school library, on the next page. Hearing growling, the suspense intensifies as she spots a tail, and follows it into Principal Granny’s office, where Little Red meets Wolf 3000, showing his big sharp teeth instead of her Principal. Big Red musters her courage and bravery to combat the fierce pencil sharpener. Read to find out if she saves Principal Granny, now a short stub of a pencil, before it’s too late. (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014
IL K-3, RL 2.1
If you laugh at Junie B. you’ll laugh out loud when you meet lovable six-year old Dory Fantasmagory in this new beginning chapter book series. Everyone calls her Rascal but all that Dory really wants is attention and she has just enough wild imagination and endless energy to never stop trying. She’s the youngest in the family and unfortunately, her older brother, Luke, and older sister, Violet, only roll their eyes and invent scary sharp-toothed Mrs. Gobble Gracker to try and stop their little sister from being such a pest. After all, Rascal is supposed to be ready to go to first grade and it’s about time she stopped acting like a baby by asking so many annoying questions. Dory won’t quit outsmarting monsters and you’ll be surprised when she actually proves her bravery in real life! The hilarious illustrations will also help you to see her antics more clearly, and you can watch her grow in the second Dory story, Dory and the Real True Friend due out later this year. The author/illustrator, Abby Hanlon, is already thinking about her third Dory book too! (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
THE PRINCESS IN BLACK
Somerville, MA : Candlewick, 2014
IL K-3, RL 3.2
While young Princess Magnolia entertains an unexpected guest with hot chocolate and delicious scones in her majestic castle, her monster alarm rings. Her guest, Duchess Wigtower, enjoys visiting unsuspecting friend’s homes to uncover their secrets. Oh no, the princess does have a big secret, and, hearing the alarm, she scurries into the broom closet, secretly changing from her frilly pink gown and tiara into her black dress, tights, and cape. Clad in her Princess in Black outfit, she slides down the secret chute of her castle, climbs upon her unicorn Frimplepants, and scoots off to Monster Land. Will she reach Monster Land before the big, hungry Blue Monster gobbles up two tasty goats? Read to find out if the Princess in Black saves the tender goats and returns to her castle before nosy Duchess Wigtower figures out her true identity. (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
New York : Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014
IL K-3, RL 2.8
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Three of these puppies are French poodles and no bigger than teacups but Gaston, who is actually a French bulldog, is the size of a teapot! As you get to know Gaston, you’ll want to give him credit for trying to be such a proper pooch just like his sisters. One day, Gaston’s family meets a bulldog family in the park with roundish faces and three brothers named Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and their dainty poodle sister named, Antoinette. Gaston and Antoinette quickly realize there must have been a mix-up between the families and decide to switch places. The new families look right…but they just don’t feel right. You’ll have to read this book to find out where these two adorable dogs find their rightful place and happiness. (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
LEROY NINKER SADDLES UP
Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2014
IL K-3, RL 4.2
The tiny thief, Leroy Ninker, who tries to steal the toaster in Mercy Watson Fights Crime, has mended his ways and returns in this spinoff series. Still planning on a career as a cowboy, Leroy, the drive-in movie concession salesman, makes plans to fulfill his dream. His coworker, Beatrice, informs him that he needs a horse, handing him a “Horse for Sale” advertisement. Leroy can’t wait to find the horse of his dreams and soon locates Maybelline, an old horse with a velvety damp nose and only four teeth. After hearing her former owner’s advice (firstly, be kind to her, “you got to talk sweet to Maybelline,” secondly, give her lots of grub, and, thirdly, never leave her alone), Leroy and Maybelline gallop away faster and faster across the fields. He has never been happier! But when he forgets an important tip about Maybelline, he fears his cowboy dreams are over. Read to find out what hair-raising adventure occurs, AND if Leroy and Maybelline ever run into some old friends. (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
THE CHICKEN SQUAD : THE FIRST MISADVENTURE
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014
IL K-3, RL 3.1
J.J. Tully, a dog, has his paws full. He is in charge of protecting the Chicken Squad and their mother, Moosh. Dirt, Sugar, Poppy and Sweetie (the members of the Chicken Squad) are trying to solve the mystery of what BIG, SCARY, ENORMOUS, FRIGHTENING, HUGE, TERRIFYING, ROUND, SHINY thing has scared the squirrel, Tail. You won’t believe what it is! Read The Chicken Squad and discover along with Tully what has gotten the chickens’ feathers ruffled. (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF THE SEAS
New York : Schwartz & Wade Books, 2014
IL K-3, RL 4.2
Elephant seals belong in the ocean, but Elizabeth is different. No one knows what draws her to settle in a busy intersection in the middle of Christchurch, New Zealand, but she makes it clear that is where she wants to be. This true story of love and determination will warm your heart! (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
MY TEACHER IS A MONSTER! (NO, I AM NOT)
Boston : Little Brown, 2014
IL K-3, RL 1.7
A young boy named Bobby has the worst teacher. She's loud, she yells, and if you throw paper airplanes, she won't allow you to enjoy recess. She is a monster! Luckily, Bobby can go to his favorite spot in the park on weekends to play. Until one day... he finds his teacher there! Over the course of one day, Bobby learns that monsters are not always what they seem. (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
Bloom, C. P.
THE MONKEY GOES BANANAS
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014
Monkey spies a banana tree. What will he do to get his hands on them? Monkey cleverly finds a way to outsmart a shark and get to the bananas. This mostly wordless picture book is truly hilarious! (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE
Somerville, MA : Candlewick, 2014
IL K-3, RL 1.9
Sam, Dave and their dog have a challenge. They want to dig and dig and dig until they find something spectacular – something huge – something thrilling. They seem unsuccessful. But are they really? Pay close attention to the illustrations and you’ll discover what Sam and Dave found. This book won a Caldecott Honor Medal for outstanding illustrations. (Booktalk by
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
TOUCH THE BRIGHTEST STAR
New York : Greenwillow Books, 2015
IL K-3, RL 1.7
What happens when the sun goes down? The night becomes magic. “Magic happens every night. / First wave good-bye to the sun’s bright light.” Come along on a journey through the night. Tap the firefly to make it light. Pat the deer. Swipe the sky. Rub the owl heads. And when the night is over, a new magical day begins.
LOOT : HOW TO STEAL A FORTUNE
New York : Scholastic, 2014
IL 5-8, RL 4.2
Advice from Alfie McQuin to his son, March:
*Never trust a guy who says “trust me”.
*If you think nothing can go wrong---you’d better think again.
*Panic doesn’t get you anything but arrested.
March McQuin has led an “interesting” life so far. Being raised by his widowed dad, who also happens to be an international jewel thief, has resulted in many moves to many countries and countless transfers from one school to another. Through it all, though, they’ve always had each other, and Alfie has passed on his wisdom as well as “homeschooling” March in the art of burglary.
But Alfie’s latest heist has gone terribly wrong. Now March is on his own, and he’s being followed. He’s going to need all of the skills and wisdom his father gave him just to survive, let alone to solve the mystery of Alfie’s last request---“Find jewels…”
What jewels? Or, maybe, who is Jules? March will find friends and allies where he least expects them, but there are enemies out there, too. And they’re all trying to be first to find….the loot.
This high-speed adventure will have you hooked from the first chapter to the last. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
HALF A CHANCE
New York : Scholastic, 2014
IL 3-6, RL 4.3
When you take pictures do you just point and shoot? Do you frame your picture? Do you consider the “story” the photo will tell?
Lucy’s family has just moved into a year round home on a lake in New Hampshire, her third move in her twelve years. Lucy’s Dad, a famous photographer, never stays in one place too long, and truth to tell he will be taking off within a day for a summer long assignment in Arizona leaving Lucy and her Mom to sort out the move and settle into this new life. Even before unpacking her first box Lucy is driven to grab her own camera and, with her dog Ansel (after Ansel Adams), “capture a first New Hampshire photo, so that in time she will feel the relief and comfort of looking back at this first one and remember how brave and scary everything was then, and realize she ‘made it’ once again. Like creating a memory in reverse.”
Memory and photography intertwine in the telling of this story.
Very quickly, Lucy meets Nate, the boy next door, and his family who are summer residents in the cottage owned by his Grandma Lilah. Grandma Lilah is passionate about participating with the Loon Preservation Society’s annual egg count and hatchings. However, she can no longer manage daily kayaking to the loon nesting island and enlists the help of Nate, his sister, and “Lucy of the Loons” as she dubs Lucy on her first venture. Sometimes another neighbor Megan, who sees Lucy as a rival, participates as well. As you will discover, Grandma Lilah is having more trouble managing other things as well this summer.
Through a desire to help Grandma Lilah and a secret longing to have her photography skills measure up to her father’s highly demanding standards, Lucy, with Nate’s interest and help, work to gather samples for a Photo Scavenger Hunt run by a magazine, nine photos reflecting a creative approach to nine words or phrases. Ethical issues arise when Lucy has to enter the contest under Nate’s name since her father is one of the contest judges. But even more difficult ethical, friendship, and creative choice issues arise over the use or non-use of a particular photo of Grandma Lilah that “reveals a story, show me why I care?” but one that Nate cares too much to want to see.
(Kathleen Fencil, NH Great Stone Face Committee, 2015)
Hunt, Lynda Mullaly.
FISH IN A TREE
New York : Nancy Paulsen, 2015
IL 5-8, RL 4.2
Ally Nickerson spends a lot of time in the Principal’s office. She does not always understand what she did wrong to get there. She has also had to move a lot, seven schools in her twelve years. Her father is in the military and is currently deployed overseas.
Ally demonstrates unique brightness and interesting drawing capabilities as she doodles in her “Sketchbook of Impossible Things,” but at other times her good intentions lead to disastrous consequences, all because she cannot tell the absolute truth, not to her principal, not to her teacher, not to her Mom, not to her friends. Ally still cannot read, no matter how hard she tries. And she does try, but reading for Ally is “still like trying to make sense of a can of alphabet soup that’s been dumped on a plate. She just doesn’t get how other people do it. Ally Nickerson + reading = Impossible!
To say that Ally stands out is stating the obvious, but she is not totally alone. She develops friendships with a couple of other class misfits; “Tell–it-like-it-is Keisha and science and fact obsessed Albert who wears the same “Flint” shirt to school everyday and is often seen with mysterious bruises.
In the course of their school year they get a new teacher, Mr. Daniels who sees the child first, before the student. There are heroes in this book and they are not only the adults.
This book is a “Silver Dollar” read.
The Fish in a Tree title comes from a quote often misappropriated to Albert Einstein;
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
The truth of a quote has nothing to do with who it came from, but it would be fine and fitting had it been Einstein.
(Kathleen Fencil, NH Great Stone Face Committee)
New York : HarperCollins, 2014
IL 3-6, RL 5.5
Rye O’Chanter and her best friends Quinn and Folly know well the history of Village Drowning, a village said to be “built on a foundation of secrets, rules, and lies but mostly just mud.” The children have heard tell of the hideous Bog Noblins–creatures who wear human feet as necklaces–and the bands of lawless men known as Luck Uglies, both thought to be long-gone from the village. But when Rye herself has a horrible encounter with a Bog Noblin late one night and a mysterious cloaked and tattooed man appears in the village, Rye and her friends learn that things aren’t always what they seem and what becomes history isn’t always true.
The author creates a multi-layered, rich world inhabited by characters that sparkle with life and practically leap from the pages. Readers will be thrilled to know that this engrossing fantasy is the first book of a series. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
Hahn, Mary Downing.
WHERE I BELONG
New York : Clarion, 2014
IL 5-8, RL 5.3
“If only I had someplace to go besides home. A safe place where I’d belong and nobody would call me names or beat me up or laugh at me. No school. No teachers. No mean kids. No Mrs. Clancy. Just me, Brendan Doyle”. (p. 13, Where I Belong)
No one is nice to sixth-grader Brendan Doyle: his foster mother, his teachers, his classmates, and especially the teens who bully him. He escapes in books, drawing, carving, and daydreaming. When Brendan meets an old man near his treehouse in the Virginia woods, he believes that this is the Green Man, the magical spirit guardian of the forest. Brendan builds a treehouse and retreats into his fantasy world. With the help of another new friend, a girl named Shea with secrets of her own, Brendan just might find a place where he belongs. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker.
THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE
New York : Dial Books, 2015
IL 3-6. RL 3.9
From the moment you meet Ada, the main character, you are going to not want to let her go. She’s imperfect, impertinent, smart, and strong. Ada lives with her younger brother Jamie and flat out evil mother in a tiny London flat on the eve of World War II. Ada has a club foot. She’s never walked, and she’s never left the apartment. Her mother shames her and punishes her in deplorable ways. Jamie is Ada’s only lifeline to the world, and when Ada hears that Jamie will be evacuated to the countryside due to the impending bombings, she secretly teaches herself to walk, and very painfully escapes with Jamie in the evacuation. What happens to Ada, and Jamie, and Susan, the woman who has to care for them, is transformative both for the characters and every reader who meets these characters. This book will have you thinking about Ada long after it ends, waiting impatiently for the sequel to be able to spend more time with her. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
THE TERRIBLE TWO
New York : Amulet Books, 2015
IL 3-6, RL 4.9
It was the first day of school, and Miles Murphy faced it with a sense of dread; he had just moved to the cow town of Yawnee Valley from his beloved home town back in Florida. Miles looked around and saw all the typical school stuff: typical marquee, typical flagpole, typical bunch of kids milling around, typical school entrance blocked by the typical principal’s car high up on the steps…huh? Wait a minute…what a fantastic prank! The only trouble was, it wasn’t his prank! Back at his old school, he was known as the master of pranks…who was the mastermind here at Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy? He had to find out! The one person he was sure it couldn’t be was Niles Sparks, the designated School Helper. Every school has one: the suck-up, the do-gooder, the snitch… Can Miles be out-pranked?
This book is funnier than a rubber chicken… and contains some interesting facts about cows! Hilarious for all ages…fun illustrations. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
RUNNING OUT OF NIGHT
New York : Delacorte, 2014
IL 3-6, RL 5.2
Her mama died in childbirth when she was born, and her pa and older brothers didn’t think enough of her to give her a name. They simply called her “Girl”. She grew up in fear of them, suffering their unspeakable abuse and serving as their slave, guarded by two vicious bloodhounds.
The day Zenobia knocked at her door, Girl’s life began to change. Zenobia was a runaway slave, whose family had all been separated and sold away to cruel plantation owners.
The two girls, of disparate color and background, forged an unlikely bond of friendship. Zenobia gave her a new name: Lark, because she sang like a bird. Together, they made their escape by night, using just their wits and a great deal of courage. They endured many hair-raising close calls, even as they received assistance from some Quaker families on the Underground Railroad. Did they successfully elude their pursuers and make it to freedom?
A gritty, well-told historical novel, filled with high adventure. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
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