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 May edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

in a village by the seaIn a Village by the Sea by Muon Van; illustrated by April Chu
Creston, 2015.
Captivating pencil and digital illustrations, reminiscent of Japanese wood block prints, are paired with poetic text about a family waiting for their fisherman father. (Preschool – Grade 2)

It’s Only Stanley written and illustrated by Jon Ageeits only stanley
Dial/Penguin, 2015.
Stanley’s a man with a plan-or rather, a dog with big ambitions. Rhyming text and watercolor illustrations depict a highly motivated, single minded beagle who won’t stop until he achieves his goal in this rollicking adventure with the Wimbledon family. (Preschool – Grade 2)

luna and meLuna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest written and illustrated by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Christy Ottavio/H. Holt, 2015.
This picture book is based upon the true story of Julia Butterfly Hill, who lived for two years on the branches of a redwood tree to save it from logging. An attractive and thoughtful book that shows kids how one person can make a difference for the environment. (Preschool – Grade 3)

Soon by Timothy Knapman; illustrated by Patrick Benson soon
Candlewick, 2015.
On their long journey to a mountaintop, a mother and young elephant encounter dangers. With stunning illustrations and rhythmic text, this story will make a great read-aloud one-on-one and in groups. (Baby/toddler – Preschool)

elephant and giraffeA Surprise for Elephant and Giraffe written and illustrated by Paul Gude
Disney-Hyperion, 2015.
Elephant and Giraffe have big surprises in store for each other in this follow-up to When Elephant met Giraffe. The simple drawing style perfectly communicates the wacky humor of the pithy text. Giraffe and Elephant are an endearing twosome, similar to other classic friendships like Frog and Toad or Elephant and Piggy. (Kindergarten – Grade 2)

A Violin for Elva by Mary Lyn Ray; illustrated by Tricia Tusaviolin for elva
Houghton, 2015.
Elva is a plucky heroine, from her start as a preschooler to her final evolution as a gray-haired, nervous optimist towering over the rest of the youthful beginners in Madame Josephina’s violin classes, in this quietly humorous celebration of music and maturing self-confidence. Kindergarten – Grade 3)

Easy Reader

ballet cat secretBallet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret written and illustrated by Bob Shea
Disney-Hyperion, 2015.
Sparkles the Pony and best friend Ballet Cat are spending another happy day playing more ballet games, or are they? Sparkles has an unhappy secret which may ruin their day. Lively and silly early readers written by high caliber authors like Bob Shea are desperately needed and much appreciated. (Grades 1- 3)

Fiction

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kellyblackbird fly
Greenwillow, 2015.
Apple must deal with friendship problems, a mom who doesn’t understand her, and racism from other kids at school, all while trying to secretly learn guitar. Apple’s struggles with identity and relationships are well written, and incredibly relatable. (Grades 6 – 12)

completely clementineCompletely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; illustrated by Marla Frazee
Disney-Hyperion, 2015.
Clementine is forced to manage a number of difficult transitions at the end of third grade, but she’s come a long way in seven books. A “completely” satisfying conclusion to an early chapter series that always delivered. Bravo, Clementine! (Grades 1 – 3)

The Imaginary written by A. F. Harrold; illustrated by Emily Gravettimaginary
Bloomsbury, 2015.
Rudger is Amanda’s excellent imaginary friend, but when a sinister man and his very alarming child companion come hunting imaginaries, Rudger and Amanda must fight for their survival. Gravett’s many winning illustrations, and Harrold’s exciting story that avoids cliché, charm, delight, inspire and frighten in a sophisticated tale about the importance of noticing and caring. (Grades 4 – 7)

moonpenny islandMoonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb; illustrated by Gilbert Ford
Balzer + Bray, 2015
Set on Moonpenny Island, a “a dot, a titch, a pinch” in Lake Erie, this tale of friendship, fossils and forgiveness is exquisitely written and wonderfully insightful. (Grades 4 – 6)

Playing a Part by Daria Wilke; translated by Marian Schwartzplaying a part
A. Levine, 2015.
Russian teen Grisha must deal with changes to the theater community he lives in, and the realization that he might be gay. This short contemporary novel, is a beautiful coming of age tale translated from the original Russian. (Grades 7 – 12)

Graphic Novel

aresAres: Bringer of War written and illustrated by George O’Connor
First Second, 2015.
Filled with violent action, impressively erudite, and packed with wit, O’Connor’s Ares tells the story of the Trojan War in handsomely colored, graphically strong panels. A range of skin-tones indicate ethnic diversity among the gods and men. Rich back-matter provides context, explains artistic choices, provides a bibliography and offers reading recommendations. (Grades 4 – 8)

Poetry

The Maine Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers written by Michael J. Rosen; illustrated by Lee Anthony Whitemaine coon haiku
Candlewick, 2015.
Twenty original haiku celebrating various breeds of cats are offered, and really capture the personalities and physical characteristics of those breeds. Equally pleasing are the full color illustrations; although they were “created digitally” they resemble gouache paintings and are quite charming. (Kindergarten – Grade 5)

out and aboutOut and About: A First Book of Poems written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes
Candlewick, 2015.
A visually beautiful and engaging book of poetry includes eighteen poems (some rhyming some not) with lavish water color illustrations that accurately reflect the mood of the season and show Katie and baby brother Olly out and about enjoying nature. (Preschool – Grade 3)

Nonfiction

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hooseboys who challenged hitler
Farrar, 2015.
Using first hand accounts, this riveting nonfiction account of a little known piece of World War II history tells how a group of teenage boys inspired the Danish resistance, after the Germans occupied their country in April 1940. (Grades 6 – 10)

– Hayley

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