Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Found:The Missing: Book 1

Written by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Most enjoyed by 5th through 8th Graders

Jonah is adopted. He knows it and is comfortable with it. His worries are about trying out for the basketball team and keeping his new neighbor Chip from developing much of a crush on Jonah's younger sister, Katherine. When Jonah receives a letter with the message 'You are one of the missing' quickly followed by another reading 'Beware, they are coming back to get you', he begins to wonder about his birth parents and the details surrounding his adoption. When Chip receives the same letters, the three decide to find the source of the letters. A visit with an FBI agent gives Jonah, Katherine, and Chip clues that point them to a disappearing plane, people who can appear and vanish at will, and a smuggling operation that involved 36 babies 13 years ago, two of which were Jonah and Chip. Who is after them and how far will they go to get Jonah and Chip within their grasp?

If you like mystery and suspense stories, 'Found' is the book for you. I started this one evening and thought I'd read a few pages then go to bed. Wrong! I couldn't put the book down. There's tons of action, believable characters, cliff-hanger chapter endings, and a plot that will make you scratch your head wondering 'Could that really happen?' Don't pass this book up! One warning though - 'Found' is the first in a new series and I can guarantee you will want to pick up the next book as soon as you finish. However, the second book, 'Sent', doesn't come out until August 2009 so you'll have to wait a while to find out what happens to Jonah, Katherine, and Chip. But if the next book is anything like the first one, it will be worth the wait!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bear Stays Up For Christmas

Written by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Most enjoyed by Preschoolers through 2nd Graders

Normally, at this time of year, Bear would be sound asleep, just getting started on his long winter's nap. But his animal friends won't hear it; they want him to stay up to help them celebrate Christmas. He sleepily trundles out of his cave with them to get just the right tree and droops as he's stringing popcorn, but he still manages to stay awake. Just when his friends have fallen asleep, the Bear finds all kind of energy to make them gifts. But who else is awake on this special night?

This story is a great read-aloud because listeners can chime in with the refrain 'but the Bear stays up' at just the right time. The illustrations are perfect, making Bear so big and cuddly and the other animals so friendly. Keep cozy warm under a big quilt when you read this one, just like Bear does!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thomas' Special Delivery

Based on The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry
Illustrated by Tommy Stubs
Most enjoyed by train lovers in Preschool and Kindergarten

Thomas the Tank Engine, a Really Useful Engine, has three special deliveries to make before heading back to the engine shed to hang his Christmas stocking. With each delivery he makes, the snow falls faster and harder, making Thomas worry that he'll miss Father Christmas' visit. At the last stop, a children's hospital, Sir Topham Hatt asks Thomas to make one more stop on his way to the engine shed. Thomas is sure Father Christmas won't forget him for being so useful. When he finally arrives back to the shed, the stockings have been hung. But is it snowing too hard for Father Christmas to make it through?

If you have a Thomas the Tank Engine fan in your house, snuggle up and read this story together. Thomas is a good role model for little ones. He never gives up and always does his best, two messages worth repeating. And most likely it will be repeated because this is one holiday story you'll be asked to read over and over!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Written by Ingrid Law
Most enjoyed by 5th through 8th Graders

Mibs Beaumont is looking forward to turning 13. In the Beaumont family, your 13th birthday is when you get your savvy, that special talent or skill that is unique to each family member. Mibs' brothers can already whip up hurricanes and create electrical storms so Mibs is eager to find out what she'll be able to do. Her excitement is put on hold, though, when her father is injured in a car accident the day before her birthday, leaving him in a coma at a nearby hospital. Now, Mibs wants nothing more than to have a savvy that will help bring her father home.

When the preacher's wife offers to host a birthday party for her, Mibs is less than excited. She downright dreads the affair. But when a pink school bus bearing the words Heartland Bible Supply Company appears in the church parking lot, Mibs is sure this is her chance to catch a ride to visit her father. Stowing away on the bus, Mibs finds herself in a bigger adventure than she had anticipated when the bus heads in the opposite direction of the hospital. Mibs is in for the bus ride of her life, one she'll never forget.

Savvy is one of the best books I've read this year. It won a 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor award and is sure to win many more. The story of a young girl searching for what makes her special and unique, it's a perfect read-aloud. It's also a wonderful choice for a parent and child to read together. There's lots to talk about and lots to laugh about. Savvy opens the door for a discussion of what makes each of us unique. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snowmen At Christmas

Written by Caralyn Buehner
Illustrated by Mark Buehner
Most enjoyed by snowmen lovers of all ages

We're lucky to have snow already this early in December. Yes, lucky indeed because it will allow the snowmen we've made in our front yards to celebrate Christmas. If you need to know just how they do that, check out 'Snowmen at Christmas' and you'll find out.
When you're sound asleep at night, you may be dreaming that your snowman is waiting patiently for you right where you left him. But if you could peek out your window, you'd find that he's left your yard and headed for some Christmas fun in town. Admiring the toys on display in store windows, munching on frosty treats, sledding down hills, and waiting for Santa are all pleasures your snowman enjoys. Capping off the evening is a celebtration of the birth of a King in song around the Christmas tree. Your tired snowman will head for home so check him in the morning. Is his carrot nose a little crooked? How about his hat - is it still there? Are you sure he stayed in one place all night?

I wish the snowmen in this book could come to life like Frosty does. Mark Buehner has created such joyful snowmen, I'd love to have the whole bunch decorating my front yard. 'Snowmen at Christmas' is another sure fire Christmas-spirit-lifter of a book!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Silver Packages:An Appalachian Christmas Story

Written by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet
Most enjoyed by 3rd through 8th Graders

This may be considered a Christmas story, and it truly is, but it's also a story about quiet heroes, those unsung people who make lives around the world better because of the simple, selfless acts of kindness they perform.

In the mountains of Appalachia, the children of the small town anxiously wait for the Christmas train. Each year, from the back of the train, a rich man tosses gifts to the waiting children. For most, it will be the only gift they receive. The man's kindness is a way of thanking the townspeople for caring for him and nursing him back to health when he was injured in a car accident. The people who cared for him refused his offer of payment and so he has come back every year, just before Christmas, to bestow gifts on the town's children.

Frankie is hoping for a doctor kit this year. He waits anxiously by the train tracks, shivering with the other children as he tries to keep warm without socks, mittens, scarf or hat. When he opens his silver package on Christmas, he is disappointed to find a cowboy set and three pairs of warm socks. He plays with the set anyway while his feet stay warm. As Christmas comes again, he waits for the train and hopes for a doctor kit. But again he is disappointed, receiving a police car and two pairs of mittens.
The years pass and Frankie never receives the doctor kit. He grows up, moves away, and makes a life for himself. But he can't forget the kindness the rich man showed him when he was young. Frank, now a grown up Frankie, realizes that despite never receiving what he wanted, he always received what he needed - socks, mittens, hats and scarves. Moved to return home by his memories of the kindness of the rich man, Frank joins the children by the train tracks, watching their excitement and savoring his own warm memories. As they receive their silver packages, one child stumbles. That's when we realize how the kindness of one man can impact a young life.

If you can read this story without getting a tear in your eye, you're a much better reader than I am! Put this one on your table to read after making your list to Santa or before you head to the mall. I think you'll find yourself putting a little more love in all you do this season, and perhaps, making sure to reach out to others in small, quiet ways.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Skipppyjon Jones is Here!

Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
Most enjoyed by readers in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade

One of this year's most popular Monarch Award books is 'Skippyjon Jones' by Judy Schachner. A Siamese kitty who can't sit still, Skippyjon Jones is always ready for adventure. The best thing about his adventures is that they come from his imagination. And let me tell you, his imagination is an active one! And readers will be happy to know that we have two more of Skippyjon's adventures in the library ready for checkout.

In the first book, 'Skipppyjon Jones', the little bundle of moving fur is not quite ready to settle down to being a good little kitty so Mama sends him to his room with the charge to stay out of his closet. But the little guy can't resist, especially when he dons his mask and hops onto his stick mouse. Off he goes to discover a band of Chihuahuas looking for someone to rescue them from the terrible Bumblebeeto. Is Skippyjon Jones just the kitty for the job?

Full of Spanish words and phrases, 'Skippyjon Jones' is one wild read full of laugh-out-loud fun. Readers who love the first book will be eager to gobble up the next two titles, 'Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble' and 'Skippyjon Jones in the Dog-house'. Both continue Skippyjon's wild antics and come with CD's so the stories can be heard anytime and anywhere. Make your car ride a little more fun by bringing Skippyjon along!