Every month, we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the August edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

PoolPool written and illustrated by JiHyeon Lee
Chronicle, 2015.
In this wordless picture book, a boy dives below the noisy crowd of inner-tube-wearing swimmers to discover another solo swimmer, and an amazing world of fascinating creatures, depicted in subtle colored-pencil drawings that emphasize the fragile-feeling secret world they explore. (Preschool – Grade 5)

Spy Guy: The Not-So-Secret Agent by Jessica Young; illustrated by Charles Santosospy guy
Houghton, 2015.
“Spy Guy was a spy./But not a very good one./ Spies are sneaky./Not Spy Guy.” The “Chief” (i.e., his father) helps him practice. Humorous details of spying in Santoso’s digitally painted illustrations extend and enhance Young’s quirky text. The book design is excellent and don’t forget to look for the spider! (Preschool – Grade 1)

squid kidSquid Kid the Magnificent by Lynne Berry; illustrated by Luke LaMarca
Disney/Hyperion, 2015.
Oliver is not just a squid, he is Squid Kid the Magnificent, master of illusion! His sister Stella is happy to chime in to disprove Squid Kid’s magic with scientific facts about ocean animals. Squid Kid is a great read-aloud choice, wonderfully designed, with illustrations that complement the text perfectly. (Preschool – Grade 2)

WonTon and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw; illustrated by Eugene Yelchinwon ton and chopstick
Holt, 2015.
In this sequel to Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (2011), Won Ton the cat becomes stressed when a new puppy, called Chopstick, arrives. This charming story of adjusting to a new family member is told in Senryu: a form of Haiku focused on the foibles of human—or in this case, animal—nature. (Preschool – Grade 1)


book scavengerBook Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman; illustrated by Sarah Watts
Holt, 2015.
Emily and her family move to San Francisco, home of her hero Garrison Griswold, publisher and creator of the Book Scavenger game (similar to geocaching). After Griswold is wounded, Emily and her neighbor James, who is Chinese-American, try to find out what happened, and the scattered puzzles, ciphers, and ink artwork add appeal. (Grades 4 – 8)

The Boy who Lost Fairyland by Cathrynne Valente; illustrated by Ana Juanboy who lost fairyland
Feiwel/Macmillan, 2015.
This strong fourth book in the Fairyland series begins with a twist on the Thumbelina story, when Hawthorn the troll is stolen from Fairyland and dropped onto the doorstep of the unsuspecting Roods. Valente’s exquisite visual descriptions and clever use of language reveal the beauty and strangeness of the Human World. (Grades 5 – 8)

circus mirandusCircus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley; illustrated by Diana Sudyka
Dial/Penguin, 2015.
A powerful magician has promised his grandfather a miracle, so ten-year-old Micah sets off to find the amazing Lightbender who performs with the Circus Mirandus. Vivid imagery and smooth transitions between magic and Micah’s real situation make this an excellent choice for independent readers and reading aloud to younger children. (Grades 3 – 6)

The Jumbies by Tracey BaptisteJumbies
Algonquin. 2015.
Corinne must save her village from evil creatures called Jumbies in this story based on Haitian folktales. A very fresh take in a popular genre. (Grades 3 – 5)

pieces and playersPieces and Players by Blue Balliett; illustrated by Brett Helquist
Scholastic, 2015.
Set in Chicago’s Hyde Park area, Balliett brings characters from five previous novels together in this complex and exciting mystery. There’s a helpful ghost; a cat that seems to be a spy; grumpy museum board members; as well as a number of young people dressed in black leather jackets popping up. (Grades 5 – 9)

Graphic Novel

Sleepless Knight written and illustrated by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frostsleepless knight
First Second, 2015.
A young knight with a trusty horse set off on a camping trip, and discover that they need the help of forest animals to find the knight’s lost teddy bear. Large boldly colored illustrations and an action-packed story ensure that this book will be welcomed by young readers. (Kindergarten – Grade 3)


call of the ospreyThe Call of the Osprey by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent; photographs by William Muñoz
Houghton, 2015.
Researchers are studying the impact of environmental degradation on a population of ospreys that nest and fish near a Superfund mine cleanup site in Montana. Students considering careers in biology or environmental science will appreciate this impressive addition to the long-running “Scientists in the Field” series. (Grades 7 – 10)

A Chicken Followed Me Home: Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl written and illustrated by Robin Pagechicken followed me home
Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2015.
Colorful hens waddle and scurry across the pages of this informative, handsomely illustrated, and distinctively designed introduction to the care and behavior of chickens. (Kindergarten – Grade 3)

octopus scientistThe Octopus Scientist by Sy Montgomery; photographs by Keith Ellenbogen
Houghton, 2015.
Gorgeous underwater photography and entertaining stories about the intelligence and color-changing abilities of octopi make this a winning addition to the acclaimed “Scientists in the Field” series, whose new tagline, “Where Science Meets Adventure,” is right on target here. (Grades 7 – 10)

– Hayley

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Berkeley Library Director Resigns, Barefoot Gen Anniversary Project Announced

Berkeley PL Director Resigns: Jeff Scott has resigned from his post as director of the ScottBerkeley Public Library (CA) after opposition to his policies on weeding materials from the collection: www.insidebayarea.com/breaking-news/ci_28734895/berkeley-library-director-resigns

Barefoot Gen Anniversary Project: In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, San Francisco publisher Last Gasp is in the process of producing a new hardcover edition of volumes 1 – 4 of the graphic novel  Barefoot Gen  to be donated to schools and libraries.

Barefoot GenBarefoot Gen is the story of wartime Japan, focusing on the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath. The book’s creator, Keiji Nakazawa, is not only a graphic novelist but a childhood survivor of the attack. His candid and stunning details of the horrors of war have rendered Barefoot Gen a powerful tool of education and a classic of children’s literature worldwide.

The publisher believes that it’s imperative for future generations to have access to Nakazawa’s story to serve as a tangible warning of the impact of war. To this end, Last Gasp has mounted a crowdfunding campaign in order to print & distribute 4000 copies of a new hardcover edition to be donated to schools and libraries.

They have a Kickstarter page to help raise funds for this project. There is also a link to a form you can use to nominate a school or library to receive free copies.  www.kickstarter.com/projects/1784498350/barefoot-gen-for-schools-and-libraries

Here’s a link to an autobiographical comic by Raina Telgemeier about her childhood introduction to Barefoot Gen: http://goraina.com/webcomics/beginnings/

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Do-It-Yourself Program: Harry Potter Party

Do-It-Yourself Program Ideas – Harry Potter Crafts and Games

HarryPotterParty     A book party celebrating J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books will still draw a crowd, even after all these years! Here are some ideas for a craft and game program you can scale up or down to fit your library. Special thanks to San Jose State University iSchool students Anna Taylor and Mariah McGuire for many of these links! And to Jessica Ormonde for inspiring this idea!

Entrance: Decorate the entrance to your meeting room with brick poster paper, to replicate the train platform, and add the 9 ¾ sign.

Facepainting: Have high school drama students serve as face painters, offering Harry Potter lightning bolts on children’s foreheads.

Icebreaker: Begin with a Sorting Hat activity. As each child enters the program, have them wear the Sorting Hat and assign them to a House (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff). Give them a nametag with that house’s symbol and color (www.pottermore.com/en-us/sorting-hat). When it is time to break up the group to move onto the various games and crafts, they can be divided by their houses. You can make a Sorting Hat (http://marthashmartha.blogspot.com/2010/04/welcome-to-hogwarts.html), or purchase one here: www.officialharrypottercostumes.com/harry-potter-costume-categories/harry-potter-accessories/harry-potter-sorting-hat?pla=1&gclid=CjwKEAjw8qetBRCj6vKH8IC_kwoSJADGQ8dS5tdCYLXOkonoJL19sZuCdaRT9blgQX86V5RudbL5FxoCnpjw_wcB .


Make a Magic Wand – These fancy wands are made from pencils: http://kimorlandini.blogspot.com/2013/08/harry-potter-wand-pencils-tutorial.html . Or, make a simpler version with a chopstick, allowing each child to decorate it with a marking pen and feathers.

Golden Snitch – www.instructables.com/id/Harry-Potter-Golden-Snitch-1/ .

Broomstick Bookmarks – www.activityvillage.co.uk/broomstick-bookmark .


Harry Potter Trivia – http://www.playbuzz.com/katelynw11/how-well-do-you-know-harry-potter .


Pin the Glasses on Harry – Just like “Pin the Tale on the Donkey.” Use a poster of Harry Potter, and have each blind-folded player try to pin paper eyeglasses on Harry. The player closes to wear Harry would normally wear his glasses is the winner! http://geekmom.com/2015/01/harry-potter-party/ .

Quidditch Practice – Nail Hula Hoops to poles, and paint gold. Have each player throw three red balls, or “quaffles,” to try and get the ball in the hoop. See photos here: http://marthashmartha.blogspot.com/2010/04/welcome-to-hogwarts.html .


Potions Class – have a staff member or older high school student demonstrate various science experiments as Professor Snape, such as those seen here: www.stevespanglerscience.com/blog/cool-science-products/the-ultimate-harry-potter-party-2/ and http://blog.3bscientific.com/science_education_insight/2011/06/pottermore-some-wizard-science-experiments.html .

Divinations Class – have an older high school drama student portray the Divinations teacher Sybill Trelawney. She can offer to tell the future using a Magic 8 Ball.


Butter Beer – Mix cream soda and root beer in equal amounts, and top with Cool Whip.

Bertie Botts Beans – Jelly Bellies makes Bertie Botts Beans, Chocolate Frogs, and other Harry Potter candies: www.jellybelly.com/harry-potter-bertie-bott-s/c/344

Pumpkin Bread –for a healthier snack, offer pumpkin bread or cookies.

Helpful Websites:

The Leaky Cauldron – www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/

Pottermore – www.pottermore.com/en-us .

Harry Potter Party Games – http://jonesing2create.com/harry-potter-party-game-ideas/ .

Harry Potter Birthday Party – www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/parties-celebrations/harry-potter-birthday-party .

Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool

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Review of the Week: Luna and Me by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

luna and meKostecki-Shaw, Jenny Sue. Luna and Me. Picture Book. Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, Illus. Christy Ottavio/H. Holt, 05/2015. 40p. PLB $17.99. 978-0-8050-9976-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-3.

This book is based upon the true story (from one perspective) of tree-sitting Julia Butterfly Hill and her activism that saved an area of old-growth redwood forest in Northern California. Julia, in this book, is depicted as a young girl who befriends and then saves a tree named Luna. Luna is a living character; the book starts with Luna’s birth thousands of years ago, then fast-forwards to Julia’s early life. The illustrations depict the height of a redwood tree by using perspective and sideways spreads. One can see the gnarls in the limbs and the flora and fauna that Luna supports. The book is not preachy, yet young children will be able to understand the story and be inspired by Julia’s bravery. A two-page spread at the end shows a photo of 23-year-old Julia in 1998 and tells the actual story, a sensation at the time. The real Julia Butterfly Hill eventually showed herself to be an intelligent and articulate advocate for the forest; this book brings this vision to a young audience. Review based on an ARC.

Ann Hotta, Berkeley PL

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Reissues and Special Editions Out This Month

Bad KittyBruel, Nick. Bad Kitty: 10th Anniversary Edition! Roaring Brook, 2015. [42p.]. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-62672-245-3.

     Although this edition of the first book in the popular “Bad Kitty” series is not useful for libraries, it will make a nice gift. Basically, this is the same as the original edition with the exception of a fold-out poster bound into the book as the last page. The fold-out will likely tear with library circulation so it is best to stick with the original version.

Bad Kitty is still a popular and fun picture book containing four different alphabet passages – one listing ‘healthy’ food, one with verbs describing the cat’s ‘bad’ behaviors, and one with food the cat will like (including penguin pizza and quail quiche), and finally a list of verbs depicting positive behaviors (“Hugged the little mouse.”).

The all-black cat with yellow eyes and a T-shaped red nose is an engaging character. Bruel has expanded the series from picture books to include easy readers and illustrated chapter books as well. Stick with the original and skip this anniversary edition.

Andreae, Giles. Giraffes Can’t Dance: 15th Anniversary Edition. Illus. by Guy Parker-Rees. Orchard, 2015. [32p.]. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-80435-6.Giraffes

     During storytimes about dance and dancers, including special event dance party storytimes, Giraffes Can’t Dance is one of my favorite read-alouds. This anniversary edition is the same as the original, making it a great choice to purchase as a replacement copy for worn-out originals. Plus, libraries may want multiple copies to meet demand after you read it at storytime.

The color cartoon illustrations and rhyming text celebrate Gerald, a clumsy giraffe who would like to learn to dance. The subtle message on self-esteem and self-expression, and the humor make this much more than bibliotherapy. The African jungle setting and community of animals that dance together is a nice touch.

Storytime dance parties are growing in popularity. They are a special event, held every few months, to encourage movement and music along with one or two read-alouds. Many libraries have found that storytime dance parties are a great way to motivate new attendees to their regular storytimes, and to reinforce emergent literary skills of singing, talking, and playing. These encourage parents to join with their toddlers in a fun activity that promotes physical exercise, along with music and singing, which are all positive developmental experiences.

Curious GeorgePlatt, Cynthia. Where Is Curious George? Around the Town: A Look-and-Find Book. Illus. by Greg Paprocki, in the style of H.A. Rey. HMH, 2015. [28p.]. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-544-38072-1.

     Each spread in this “look and find” book depicts a scene in town, including a farmers’ market, fire station, toy store, pet store, and library. On the left side of each illustration is a brief rhyme about the location, and a list of various items to find in the scene. All of the items, including monkey George, are relatively easy to find (much easier than Waldo!).

The full color artwork is pleasing and looks remarkably like the work of Curious George’s original illustrator. Fans of the original books will accept this as part of the series, although there is no plot in this particular book.

First and second grade readers are likely to find the rhymes fairly easy to read (RL 2.4) and will be able to pick out the “hidden” items easily. Unfortunately, the paper over boards binding is not very secure; this may start to fall apart after just a few check-outs.

Pilkey, Dav. Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds). Scholastic, 1999/2015. 155p. $9.99. Captain UnderpantsISBN 978-0-545-69470-4.

In this update of the third book in Pilkey’s groundbreaking “Captain Underpants” series, the abundant illustrations are now in full color. When it was originally published, this transitional chapter book had ink illustrations and considerable whitespace, making an inviting book for 2nd and 3rd graders moving from easy readers to chapter books. The color version is equally attractive.

The hilarious story involves three alien invaders disguising themselves as cafeteria workers, to take over the Earth. They begin by turning school kids into zombies, starting at Jerome Horowitz Elementary. Unfortunately for the aliens, that school is run by George and Harold, two kids who have figured out how to turn their principal Mr. Krupp into superhero Captain Underpants.

As in other books in the series, short comic books created by Harold and George are part of the narrative. There is also the customary Flip-O-Rama section, which works like an animated flip book to show the action sequences. These books are so much fun that the most reluctant reader will pick these up.

Does the book need color? Probably not – these are so much fun that readers can “see” the action in color in their minds. But if you need replacement copies, these are certainly a good choice and may even attract new readers.

Libraries may also want to have extra copies on hand when the movie adaptation of “Captain Underpants,” starring Ed Helms in the title role, debuts in 2016.

BoneSmith, Jeff. Bone Out of Boneville: Tribute Edition. Graphix/Scholastic, 2015. 190p. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-545-80070-9.

The “Boneville” series by Jeff Smith was one of the first to convince libraries to carry graphic novels for young people (tweens and teens) because these delightful tales include literary allusions to Tolkien’s The Hobbit and other works.

In this tribute edition, the first book in Smith’s series, the traditional panel artwork with dialogue balloons is revised to include full color illustrations (the original was black and white). The original Out of Boneville collected the first six comic books in a graphic novel edition. This new version contains extras, including artwork from various graphic novel creators such as Dav Pilkey, Jeffrey Brown, and Raina Telgemeier.

For those unfamiliar with “Boneville,” the series features blobby bipeds that resembles Walt Kelly’s “Pogo,” a popular comic strip character from the 1940’s-1960’s. In Boneville, three cousins are lost in the desert and run into various characters and adventures.

Libraries will find this tribute edition a fine choice for replacement copies of the original, at an affordable price and with interesting extras.

Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool


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New BayNews Posted with Harry Potter Party Ideas

Harry Potter PartyNew ACL BayNews Posted: The August 2015 BayNews (the newsletter for the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California) is now available on our website: http://www.bayviews.org . You will find ideas for a Harry Potter Party, read-alikes for Chris Grabenstein’s Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, new storytime themes on Legendary Creatures, Cities, and much more. Thanks! Penny Peck

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Review of the Week: “Blackbird Fly” by Erin Entrada Kelly

blackbird flyEntrada Kelly, Erin. Blackbird Fly. Greenwillow, 03/2015. 296p. $16.99 978-0-06-223861-0. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 6-12.

Apple has always had a hard time fitting in; she just can’t seem to get along with her mom or her old friends. This story tells of her coming of age, as she begins to examine the different aspects of her identity and what they mean to her. Apple’s personality and relationships are well written. Her difficulties balancing the Filipino and American parts of her identity seem realistic for a child of her age. Apple’s treatment by her schoolmates due to her ethnicity also seems accurate and eye-opening in its cruelty. Even her need to find a way to connect with her long dead father through playing guitar is told with gut-wrenching emotional honesty. This story is about identity: how you define yourself and those around you. There are many elements of this story that kids will relate to, whether it’s not getting along with a parent, dealing with friends who treat you poorly, or learning how to combine different aspects of your identity. Review based on an ARC.

Jessica Ormonde, San Mateo Co Lib

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