Joan Enders, Review Chair

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Joan Enders, Review Chair

Robert A. Long High School

2903 Nichols Blvd

Longview, WA 98632

R+ Star Recommend

R Recommended

A Add per need

M Marginal

NC Not recommended

Abrahams, Peter TITLE: Robbie Forester and the Outlaws of Sherwood St. RATING: R PUBLISHER: Phiolmel Books © 2012 PRICE: $16.99

ISBN: 978-0-399-25502-1 INTEREST LEVEL: 6-8


Thirteen-year-old Robbie Forester leads a pretty typical city life until she receives a charm bracelet from a homeless woman. Robbie soon learns that the bracelet has powers that come alive whenever she is near a situation where the underdog needs help. She and her friends soon discover a path of corporate greed that is threatening their neighborhood by drastically raising rents on local businesses and the local soup kitchen and forcing them out of business. With the help of the bracelet, Robbie and the Outlaws help the neighborhood and end the corporation’s plans. This is an exciting and thrilling read for middle school students and perhaps the start of a new series. However, it could easily have done without out “bastards” p.209, which will make an otherwise great book challenging to put in some school libraries.

Reviewer: Debby Iverson, Coweeman Middle School

Adams, Tom TITLE: Matter Matters! RATING: A

PUBLISHER: Templar Books ©2012 PRICE: $18.99

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6096-3 INTEREST LEVEL: 2-8

ILLUSTRATOR: Thomas Flintham PAGES: [20]

This interactive pop-up book is jam packed with all kinds of interesting facts about chemistry. Covering such topics as elements, states of matter, acids and bases, radioactivity and an assortment of others, this text will draw in a variety of students. Younger students will enjoy the interactive flaps while older readers will learn from the content. The small text will challenge younger readers. The content of the book is great, but the flaps make it challenging to put into a school library setting. (They will get destroyed.) It would make a great read aloud for middle and high school science classes.

REVIEWER: Debby Iverson, Coweeman Middle School

Adamson, Thomas TITLE: Can You Guess What Estimations Is? RATING: R

PUBLISHER: Capstone @ 2012 PRICE:

ISBN: 9781429675574 INTEREST LEVEL: 1st-5th


Bright colorful photographs help this nonfiction math book about estimation come alive. Presentation and layout are impressive as children have multiple opportunities to practice their estimation skills. Answers to estimations are in the back as well as more estimation challenges.

Reviewer: Carol Steen, Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary

Allegra, Mike TITLE: Sarah Gives Thanks RATING: R

PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman @ 2012 PRICE: 16.99

ISBN: 9780807572399 INTEREST LEVEL: 2nd-6th


If your elementary library shelf could use another Thanksgiving book, this nonfiction offering about Sarah Hole’s determination to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday fits the bill. Widowed with five children your Sarah plots ways to keep her family from starving. She decides on writing as a career. Her fortitude and talent lead her to a career as a magazine editor. The illustrations add to the value of this book. Author’s notes are helpful.

Reviewer: Carol Steen, Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary

Allen, Kathryn Madeline TITLE: A Kiss I Love You RATING: R PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Com. ã 2012 PRICE: $15.99

ISBN: 978-0-8075-4186-9 INTEREST LEVEL: Pre-K-2nd PHOTOGRAPHER: Eric Futran PAGES: 28

The photographs in the book are very well done and are culturally diverse. The text is rhyming and very simple. This is a great read aloud for very young children. The book helps young children to decipher people’s physical actions and make connection to meaning. This could be a great book to pull out at the beginning of the year and discuss how other body language can be used in the classroom such as when we have to use the restroom, or how to tell teacher something without interrupting class.

REVIEWER: Tyra K. Smith, Head Start/EHS/ECEAP

Allen, Kathy TITLE: Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs RATING: A

PUBLISHER: Capstone Press ©2012 PRICE: $19.99

ISBN: 978-1-4296-7627-4 INTEREST LEVEL: 3-6


Ancient Egyptian Civilization series. This book discusses the discovery of the ancient Egyptian writing, hieroglyphs, and the painstaking task of trying to decode them. It also talks about the Rosetta stone and the first scholars who worked at decoding it. It offers a small section on the alphabet hieroglyphs and encourages readers to write their own name in symbols. This is an interesting book on the topic. Students at this age would enjoy a bit shorter history section and a greatly expanded section of the actual hieroglyphs that they could use themselves.

REVIEWER: Debby Iverson, Coweeman Middle School

Almond, David TITLE: My Name is Mina RATING: R

PUBLISHER: Delacorte, 2010 PRICE: $16.99

ISBN: 978-0-385-74073-9 INTEREST LEVEL: Gr. 11-12


“Words should wander and meander.//They should fly like owls and flicker like bats and slip like cats./They should murmur and scream and dance and sing.” “We stand dead still and we listen to the night. The city drones. An owl hoots and a cat howls and a dog barks and a siren wails.We let the stars shine into us.” You know, everyone with good sense has to love David Almond’s gift of laying magic on hundreds of pages.  My Name is Mina is no exception as it introduces the reader to an exceptional, precocious little girl who loves birds and who is given the permission and the gift to be herself by a sad and wise mother.  School is a horror for Mina.  Alternative schools are tolerable but not the right fit for her.  As her mother told the principal, Mina would have her as a teacher, a wonderful yard and her own tree.  In that tree are the black birds to inspire, scold and teach Mina.  Almond shows he is a writer’s writer with this beautiful story that will be wasted on many.
Reviewer: Joan Enders, Robert A. Long High School

Altbacker, EJ TITLE: Kingdom of the Deep RATING: R

PUBLISHER: Razorbill ©2012 PRICE: $12.99

ISBN: 978-1-59514-509-3 INTEREST LEVEL: 4-8


Shark Wars book 4. Megalodon Gray and his friends have just met another megalodon, Kaleth, the supreme ruler or Seazarein of the great oceans. Gray hopes to learn about his family and past from her, but a new threat has arrived; Hokuu, a prehistoric frilled shark, bent on taking over the oceans. Kaleth makes Gray her Aquisador (ambassador) and Gray begins to learn more about ruling as he must settle disputes between different groups. Hokuu breaks the evil Valenka out of jail to help him and now the entire ocean is in peril as Hokuu asserts his strength. The first part of Hokuu’s plan is put into action when he kills Kaleth, leaving Gray the new Seazarein. Readers will have to wait until the next installment in the series to see if Hokuu’s plot is successful. This is a great read for upper elementary and younger middle school boys, especially those looking for something different than the Warrior series by Erin Hunter.

REVIEWER: Debby Iverson, Coweeman Middle School

Angleberger, Tom TITLE: The Secret of the Fortune Wookie RATING: R

PUBLISHER: Amulet Books ©2012 PRICE: $12.95

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0392-8 INTEREST LEVEL: 4-8

ILLUSTRATOR: Tom Angleberger PAGES: 190

Origami Yoda book 3. Tommy, Kellen, Harvey and the gang are doing their best to survive at McQuarrie Middle School without Dwight. Dwight has been suspended for the rest of the semester because his origami and antics were disruptive. The gang has relied on Dwight’s advice, given through Origami Yoda, and now is unsure of what to do. Harvey, the resident bad guy, is glad for the change. One day Sara comes with Fortune Wookiee claiming Dwight made it and tossed out the window to her. Sara claims to be giving Dwight’s advice through the Fortune Wookiee. Meanwhile, it appears that Dwight is becoming too normal at his new school and has lost the spark that makes him who he is. The final straw for the gang happens when Sara is forced to admit that she made the Fortune Wookiee and has been giving out her own advice. Tommy visits Dwight and presents him with the case file that gives evidence as to why they need him back and forces Dwight to take out the original Origami Yoda. Yoda tells of upcoming trouble at McQuarrie and Dwight agrees to come back at semester. Includes directions on how to make Fortune Wookiee and Han Foldo. An entertaining read that will hold wide appeal for upper elementary and middle school students. I’m looking forward to the next one.

REVIEWER: Debby Iverson, Coweeman Middle School

Armstrong, Alan TITLE: Racing the Moon RATING: A

PUBLISHER: Random House© 2012 . PRICE: $16.99

ISBN: 978-0-375-85889-5 INTEREST LEVEL: 4-8


In 1947 eleven-year-old tomboy Alex and her sometimes criminal older brother, Chuck, dream of going to space and have gone so far as to build their own space station in one of their trees. Chuck is really good at fixing and building anything to do with radios, but is not good at following the directions of others or paying for the supplies they need. Captain Ebbs moves into their neighborhood and befriends Alex, who sells her plants for her garden. Capt. Ebbs learns of their fascination about space and offers to help them. Chuck puts things into jeopardy after several brushes with the law himself and getting Alex in trouble when she’s caught stealing for him. Capt. Ebbs hires them as crew for her sailboat and times their arrival when the government is going to launch a rocket. They will be on a nearby island and able to see it go up. This isn’t close enough for Chuck and the siblings sneak off and make their way to the restricted island. Once there they are captured by soldiers as treaspassers, but because they are kids are treated kindly and even get to help when part of the launch is in jeopardy. Capt. Ebbs is furious, but still agrees to help Chuck get training he needs to perhaps get into the space program. This story is filled with the wonder and amazement of kids who dreamed of going into space. Chuck gets out of serious trouble a few too many times to remain believable, but upper elementary students will most enjoy Alex’s adventure.

REVIEWER: Debby Iverson, Coweeman Middle School

Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia TITLE: Poison Tree RATING: A

PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press© 2012 PRICE: $15.99

ISBN: 978-0-385-73754-8 INTEREST LEVEL: 7-12


This novel tells the tale of Sarik, a tiger shape-shifter, who now lives and works within the sanctuary of SingleEarth, a worldwide organization dedicated to helping humans and other life forms to survive and get along. Sarik is finally beginning to settle into her new life with her vampire boyfriend, Jason, when trouble comes. A human, Alysia, takes a new job at Single Earth and it’s soon discovered that someone has placed a bounty on her. After an attack at SingleEarth, Alysia leaves hoping that whoever is after her will leave the others alone. Sarik’s father, the king, has been trying to find Sarik after she left their village and wants to control her again. Sarik decides that it is time she declares her independence or face a future on the run and never being truly free. While upper middle and high school girls who enjoy vampire related stories will enjoy this one, it lacks depth to the characters. I am also left wondering where the title ties into the story.

REVIEWER: Debby Iverson, Coweeman Middle School

Banks, Tyra TITLE: Modelland RATING: A PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press, 2012 PRICE: $17.99

ISBN: 978-0-385- INTEREST LEVEL: 8 - 12


Confession time: My guilty pleasure is America’s Next Top Model, so it was with a great deal of anticipation that I grabbed Tyra Banks’s first toe-dip into the world of writing instead of, well, being a gorgeous diva. Would the book be as fascinating if it weren’t written by such a renowned supermodel? Probably not, though it is not a completely unprovoked poke at the fashion industry. . .and who better to take that poke than someone who has seen it from its seamy inside. Our heroine, Tookie De La Crème is not conventionally beautiful. She doesn’t see herself as beautiful at all, so when she is chosen by Ci-L, the most talented Intoxibella, on The Day of Discovery—fashionably shortened to T-DOD—and whisked away to Modelland, no one is more surprised than she—except, maybe, her mother who has been grooming Tookie’s younger sister for the honor. Tookie is joined in the adventure by three other misfits chosen by Ci-L to challenge the society’s definition of what is beautiful. Their arrival in Modelland is disconcerting as they learn that Ci-L is being severely punished by Bella Donna, the ruler of Modelland. Rumors of human sacrifices and great penalties for leaving Modelland are enough to raise the stakes for the young women who fit in to Modelland’s societies about as well as a warthog at a ballet recital. The story is a very thinly veiled allegory wannabe with occasional digressions into hallucinogenic-type scenes with shades of Harry Potter-like events, locations, and activities. At the end, the underdog triumphs, but not before she has had her heart mashed, her dignity trashed, and her family loyalties utterly shredded by revelations of her mother’s past indiscretions. As a first attempt into suspense, intrigue, and a sophisticated plot, it’s not a bad foray. A sequel is promised, and—having read this one—I would be sufficiently curious to see where the next one goes, but it’s not really a book for the masses. It’s appeal will likely remain limited to those fans of the fashion industry in general and Tyra Banks’s persona specifically.

REVIEWER: Jodi Kruse, R. A. Long High School,

Barton, Bethany TITLE: This Monster Needs A Haircut RATING: A

PUBLISHER: Dial @ 2012 PRICE: 16.99

ISBN: 9780803737334 INTEREST LEVEL 1st-3rd


This could easily be read with Matthew McElligott’s “Even Monsters Need Haircuts”. Monster Stewart absolutely positively does not want a haircut even though his dad and mom would love to see Stewart’s hair much shorter. Finally when Stewart’s hair stretches across the room with keys, homework and eyeglasses hidden inside does Stewart agree to have a haircut. Not quite the appeal of Mr. McElligott’s book, it could be considered for purchase for your elementary school library if you have a collection of monster books. I like the illustrations better than the story.

Reviewer: Carol Steen, Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary

Bauer, Marion TITLE: Dinosaur Thunder RATING: R

PUBLISHER: Scholastic @ 2012 PRICE: 16.99

ISBN: 9780590452960 INTEREST LEVEL: Kdg-3rd

ILLUSTRATOR: Margaret Chodos-Irvine PAGES: UNP

Little brother Brannon is afraid of the thunder storm. Big brother Chad tries to reassure Brannon that the thunder is “a big cat purring” or the angels bowling or maybe even the dinosaurs jumping. This final suggestion calms Brannon. Both illustrator and author should be proud of their efforts to create a charming book.

Reviewer: Carol Steen, Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary

Beil, Michael TITLE: Summer at Forsaken Lake RATING: R PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf ã 2012 PRICE: $16.99

ISBN: 978-0-375-96742-9 INTEREST LEVEL: 5th-9th ILLUSTRATOR: N/A PAGES: 322

Nicholas, a young boy from New York, and his twin sisters spend the summer with their great-uncle Nick at his house on Forsaken Lake. On arrival, Nicholas meets a baseball playing, bicycle riding, and boat sailing girl named Charlie. Nicholas was told by his father, who is in Africa on a Doctor’s Without Borders mission, that there were many mysteries to be solved at his uncle’s house. Right away, Nicolas and the twins find a secret compartment in the floor of Nicholas’ bedroom. Biel has written the perfect mystery novel for tweens and teens. The characters are authentic and developed. There are not “Andy Griffith” throwbacks but they hold a certain innocence that seem to be lacking in modern story telling. There is no drama in the adult child relationship, Beil writes about young people in a way that creates a realistic picture of the world. While this book could venture into the romantic, Beil steers away from that and develops more of a mystery around the past. Who was Nicholas’ father when he had spent time at Uncle Nick’s cabin, and what type of relationship did he have with Charlie’s mother? There are many more surprises at forsaken lake; what a great summer read.

REVIEWER: Tyra K. Smith, Head Start/EHS/ECEAP

Bell, Juliet TITLE: Kepler’s Dream RATING: R PUBLISHER: G. P. Putnam’s & Sons ã 2012 PRICE: $16.99

ISBN: 978-0-399-25645-5 INTEREST LEVEL: 9 - 14 yrs. ILLUSTRATOR: NA PAGES: 256

Ella is an eleven-year-old girl whose mother is in the hospital undergoing treatment for leukemia. While her mother is hospitalized, Ella must go stay in Albuquerque with her grandmother, who she has never met. Her grandmother is very stern and corrects Ella’s grammar constantly so Ella nicknames her GM, for General Major. GM is more concerned about her peacocks and her prized book collection than Ella’s well being. Ella meets a girl her age named Rosie and when one of grandma’s prized antique books comes up missing they form a detective agency. While looking for the missing/stolen book, Ella discovers the family’s rocky history and hopes by finding the book she can help repair some of the damage from the past. Ella writes letters to her mother that are funny and touching about her days at “Broken Family Camp”. When Ella’s dad comes to visit the past is revisited and old hurts are mended. This is a touching story of forgiveness, hope and family.

REVIEWER: Vicki White, Cascade Middle School

Berger, Joe TITLE: My Special One and Only RATING: A+

PUBLISHER: Dial Books for Young Readers ©2012 PRICE: $16.99

ISBN: 9780803734104 INTEREST LEVEL: K-2nd


When Bridget Fidget (love the name!) loses a tooth and gets a shiny coin under her pillow she decides to take it and her best friend Captain Cat to the toy store. Captain Cat falls out of her backpack and is claimed by another child so Bridget has to make a choice about her best friend and her shiny coin. It’s a really nice story about friendship. The illustrations are very expressive and fill the pages with visual treats. This book would be fun to read to young children.

Reviewer: Rhonda Lowe, Castle Rock Elementary

Blake, Jon TITLE: The Last Free Cat RATING: R PUBLISHER: Whitman, Albert & Co. ã 2012 PRICE: $14.99

ISBN: 978-0-375-85699-0 INTEREST LEVEL: 6th-8th ILLUSTRATOR: NA PAGES: 268

Not too far in the future cat breeding will be controlled and only the rich will be allowed to have cats because of a human health epidemic. Jade, who has always trusted authority, is now doubting society, especially when a cat shows up in her backyard. Jade falls in love with the calico cat that she names Feela. Risking arrest Jade decides to keep Feela, which causes the enforcement officials to raid her house. Then Jade’s mother dies and Jade confides in Kris, the school loser, about having Feela. Tragic events force Jade and Kris to take off with Feela to Ireland, which has a cat amnesty. This is a book that one of our teachers wanted to check out immediately to read to her class of sixth-graders.

REVIEWER: Vicki White, Cascade Middle School

Brennan, Sarah Rees TITLE: Unspoken RATING: R

PUBLISHER: Random House ©2012 PRICE: $18.99

ISBN: 978-0-375-87041-5 INTEREST LEVEL: 7-12


The Lynburn Legacy book 1. Kami Glass is a teen who’s had a lifelong imaginary friend named Jared. Her best friend, Angela, accepts that Kami is a bit strange. Kami is the school journalist and is hot on the trail of a newsworthy story in their town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. The town has ancient history involving the departed Lynburn family, but no one is interested in talking about it. The town is turned upside down when the Lynburns return. Cousins Ash and Jared Lynburn enroll in the local high school and when Kami meets Jared she realizes that he is her imaginary friend. Kami and Jared try to come to terms that each other is real but don’t disclose that they can mind read each other’s thoughts. Kami finds her story after discovering an animal sacrifice and a murdered student. The townspeople know that a Lynburn is responsible, but still no one will talk. Kami finally pushes her mom and learns that her mom and one of the Lynburn sisters did a spell together and that’s what responsible for her and Jared’s connection. Jared learns his family is sorcerers and that someone is doing the killing to gain more power; something they deny. When Angela goes missing, Kami and Jared know someone has taken her for a sacrifice and split up with the rest of the Lynburns to find her. Kami is shocked to find his Cousin Ash and Uncle Rob with her. Ash and Angela get away and Rob convinces Kami to sever the tie she has with Jared. She ultimately ends up severing their tie in hopes of saving Jared. Rob gets away, but the damage between Kami and Jared is done. Now they must try to learn to be two separate people which leaves the storyline dangling for the next installment. This story was slow to start. It got much more interesting in the middle after the true storyline begin to develop. Upper middle and high school students who stick with the shaky start will enjoy this fantasy mystery.

REVIEWER: Debby Iverson, Coweeman Middle School

Bryant, Megan E. TITLE: Colorasaurus RATING: R PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books ã 2012 PRICE: $9.99

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0814-8 INTEREST LEVEL: Toddler-Pre-K ILLUSTRATOR: Luciana Navarro Powell PAGES: 20

When you introduce color names to children it can be in play. This board book introduces color name is a subtle way through dinosaurs. The illustrations are true to traditional color, which is helpful when children are looking at color. This is a fun way to read and learn. So, if you have a dino lover get this book and create reading fun.

REVIEWER: Tyra K. Smith, Head Start/EHS/ECEAP

Calame, Don TITLE: Call the Shots RATING: R PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2012 PRICE: $16.99

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5556-3 INTEREST LEVEL: 10 - 12


Swim the Fly was legend. Beat the Band was a bit of a slump. Call the Shots has returned Calame to the laugh out loud status of his first book. The last in the companion books—not really sequels—focuses on the character of Sean. We first came to know and love Sean when he and his friends raided his twin sister’s formerly pink clothes in an attempt to pass themselves off as girls in order to sneak into the women’s locker room—all in the pursuit of the ultimate goal of seeing a girl naked. Call the Shots introduces a new family member to Sean’s crazy family made up of random rescued animals—an infant. The news of their mother’s pregnancy sans an increase in parental income translates to Sean and his gothic, evil sister having to share a room. Coop saves the day—sort of—by suggesting that they create and enter a horror film in a film contest and use the prize money to create an add-on to the house. Add a crazy-stalker girlfriend with a brother who was a former Navy SEAL, a love interest who is showing interest, a sister’s best friend who also turns out to be pretty incredible, and an insane, pot smoking uncle who is willing to partially bank roll the whole thing, and you have the makings for hilarity at a completely inappropriate and politically incorrect level. This final book reflects the maturing of the young men in the discussions about sexuality that they have as well as the more frequent use of the profanity/obscenity. The themes of friendship, loyalty, family, and the reverence for the solid and wholesome girl-next-door continue to be themes that Calame values and promotes. A collection with one really should be rounded out with this last work.

REVIEWER: Jodi Kruse, R. A. Long High School,

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