Outstanding!

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 November edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

Aviary WondersAviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual: Renewing the World’s Bird Supply Since 2031 written and illustrated by Kate Samworth
Clarion/Houghton/Harcourt, 2014.
An inventive picture book for older readers, which acts as a faux catalog for Aviary Wonders, a fictitious, future company that allows one to pick parts and assemble one’s own unique bird. Hilarious asides and illustrations boasting richly saturated, vibrant colors elevate this lovely and imaginative debut. (Grades 3 – 6)

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray; illustrated by Kenard Pakhave you heard
Houghton, 2014.
With rhyme and repetition, this informational story describes several birds and their sounds; perfect for storytime, the text includes the repeated title phrase along with onomatopoeia. The digitally enhanced watercolor illustrations resemble cut paper collage, in earth tones on speckled cream paper. (Preschool – Grade 3)

JacobJacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman; illustrated by Chris Case
Whitman, 2014.
Jacob enjoys wearing dresses in his classroom “dress-up corner”, so gets his mother to help him make a dress of his own that he can wear to school. This story of gender-nonconformity displays a general acceptance of what makes us unique rather than a specific, message-heavy didacticism. (Preschool – Grade 2)

Mix It Up! written and illustrated by Herve Tulletmix it up
Chronicle, 2014.
Tullet follows his landmark Press Here (Chronicle, 2011), with another “faux touch-screen” style picture book, this time using blobs of paint to show how primary colors mix to create secondary colors. Sure to be a storytime favorite, the outside covers are board. (Preschool – Grade 2)

Fiction

leroyninkersaddlesupLeroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick, 2014.
In this first book in a new series featuring characters from the author’s popular Mercy Watson books, Leroy has big dreams of becoming a cowboy. He has a hat, boots, a lasso – all he lacks is a horse.  (Grades 1 – 3)

The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner; illustrated by Jeremy Holmestempleton twins
Chronicle, 2014.
At the Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences (aka TAPAS), the twins’ father is installing his latest invention which a set of older twins try to claim credit for it. Humorous and fast-paced, the narrative is enhanced by b & w digital illustrations set against a blue background. The text is also in blue and is comfortable to read. (Grades 3 – 5)

Nonfiction

eyes wide openEyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman
Candlewick, 2014.
Instead of just facts and figures, Fleischman describes several environmental crises by first asking the reader to be open-minded, discussing critical thinking skills, propaganda, the news media, and other factors to empower students to then look at the issues (including fossil fuels, food issues, fracking, climate change, and alternative energy), and search for changes that can propel solutions. The book design is equally up-to-date with sidebars, quotations, and other tidbits that help it resemble a website. (Grades 7 – 12)

– Hayley

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