Thursday, November 30, 2017


Pranks are being set off throughout an elite school in Washington D.C. so Florian and Margaret are engaged as consultants by the FBI to investigate them and the perpetrator.  Everyone is brilliant and seemingly unfriendly so there's no lack of suspects among the the children of prominent Washingtonians. Every move is calculated and watched so they really have to put their T.O.A.S.T. skills to use. 

Is the president's daughter involved?
Is the school bully behind it? 
What about Victoria, the leader of the popular girls? 
Or, that gifted violinist who just appeared out of nowhere? 

The two friends have impressed the school director with their T.O.A.S.T. skills but a good first impression is not enough to solve the case.  

In this sequel Vanished!, James Ponti explores the complexity of friendships and social structure within the exclusive and intense lives of elite private middle school students.  

For readers in 5th-8th grades.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


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Such a fun picture book to share with young children and the illustrations by Tom Lichentenfeld will make readers want to get up and move too- adding to the simple message of including others so that the fun can be enjoyed by all.

Eric Litwin has done it again!  He’s written another awesome story. First, it was Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and now it’s this rockin’ and rollin’ story called Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Groovy Joe, too, steps to the beat of his own ‘drum’ (actually to a guitar) and here he uses numbers and a catchy tune to entice the reader. Groovy Joe will show readers that when it comes to numbers and parties, there’s always room to add more.

For ages 3-8

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Truly knows herself very well. Just turn the pages and you’ll feel her sense of self and boundless energy.  

Kelly Greenawalt’s story, Princess Truly in I Am Truly, Amariah Rauscher’s lined drawings and whimsical shades of color bring Truly and other characters a powerful yet gentle touch; her girl-power, individuality, self-confidence, and diversity shine through in each scene.  A wonderful picture book story to share with young children.

For ages 3-6.


In this graphic novel sequel to Sunny Side Up by siblings Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (reviewed by Cecile here), Sunny Lewin’s surprising summer vacation at Gramp’s retirement community in Florida is over, and she’s ready to start middle school back home. Well, sort of. Things haven’t been the same since her older brother, Dale, was sent away to boarding school for his troubled behavior.

As Sunny goes about her days, there’s a palpable emptiness in all the spaces Dale previously occupied. Memories of the gentle brother he used to be are a distressing specter, pursuing Sunny at home and school. Even when Dale returns home for the holidays, he’s different-- withdrawn and angry. Sunny loves her brother, but she doesn’t love the tense atmosphere and constant fights that his presence brings. How can love be so complicated? How do you love someone, even as you hate the things they do?

Swing it, Sunny is a poignant reflection of a family in crisis, presented in an age-appropriate and compelling format. Set in 1976, the semi-autobiographical story features plenty of contemporary pop-culture snippets within the series of vignettes. And despite its difficult premise, it features a cast of extremely supportive friends and family members. Like life itself, even amidst troubled times this middle grade tale is ultimately filled with joyful moments and always-Sunny optimism.

Grades 5-8

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Jane Cabrera has taken the classic lullaby, Rock-a-bye Baby, and incorporated different animals and how they put their little ones to sleep. With beautiful illustrations and a classic lullaby tone, this is a great bedtime read for newborns and toddlers.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Kimberly and James Dean bring us another fun read aloud, Pete the Cat and the Cool Cat Boogie. This time Pete the Cat is learning a new dance. As he tries to get help from his different friends who try to teach him their dance, he does not seem to get it quite right. However, the great thing about Pete is that he does not give up. Throughout the story, he keeps trying and trying and when he is about to give up, Wise Old owl encourages him to try to be himself and not try to learn others' dance moves. This helps Pete find his own rhythm and enjoy grooving to his own beat.

This is a great story that teaches children not to give up no matter what their friends say.  

For ages 3-6.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


When I Grow Up by Anita Bijterbosch, is a cute story that introduces animals to infants and toddlers.  With bright illustrations and a lift-the-flap element, children learn what the baby animal will become as it grows, which makes this book a sure hit with infants and toddlers. 

Thursday, November 09, 2017


Margaret Wise Brown, the author that brought us the very popular children’s book Good Night Moon now has another treasure to share with readers, Good Day, Good Night.  

As the sun rises, the bunny says hello to everyone and as the sun sets, he says goodnight.  This is a perfect addition to a bedtime collection.  Children ages newborn to toddler will definitely enjoy listening to this story.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017


Badger’s love of cleaning the forest quickly gets out of hand in Tidy. This story is a cautionary tale of how ones interest, or in Badger’s case obsession, can quickly spiral out of control. 

Badger begins innocently enough by grooming the foxes, giving the birds baths and weeding the flowers.  When that doesn’t satisfy him he moves on to picking up sticks and scrubbing rocks.  Then summer gives way to autumn and the leaves begin to fall…

Badger tries desperately to stay on top of the falling leaves, picking them up one after another after another, until he’s removed every leaf and every tree and he is faced with the complete destruction of his beloved forest. 

Lovable and misguided Badger finally realizes the error of his ways and sets about restoring the forest to its original beauty.  This light-hearted and fun story has a clear ecological message that, with the help of author-illustrator Emily Gravett’s vibrant art, even young readers will be able to see.

This book is perfect for sharing with preschool through third grade.  

Monday, November 06, 2017


In the far north there is an island, a beautiful and special place that people come to visit from all over the world. One day, the fog rolls in and doesn't roll out. It covers the island and turns everything gloomy and makes it hard for our protagonist--an observant and determined bird named Warble--to see much of anything at all through his binoculars. Warble tries everything he can think of to get rid of it to no avail, and he can't understand why his bird neighbors barely seem to notice or care. But then Warble spies a little girl through his binoculars who might be just as just as observant and determined as him. Not only can she see the fog, she cares enough to take action to put an end to it as well. But how can they fight the problem alone when no one else around them seems to notice it? 

The Fog, skillfully written by Kyo Maclear and gorgeously illustrated by Kenard Pak, deftly explores standing up for what you think is right and doing what it takes to make a difference in the world. This quirky and poignant book might inspire a range of social activism, particularly in altruistic readers in kindergarten through third grades. 

Thursday, November 02, 2017


“I am bat.  I do not like mornings.  I like cherries.  They are my favorite of all things.” So begins this adorably fun story about a possessive, grumpy and mock ferocious bat.  Author and illustrator Morag Hood’s vibrant pictures will have readers laughing out loud as bat hilariously searches for his missing cherries. 

Simply told, I Am Bat imparts readers with a clear message about sharing and altruism.  This heartfelt book, perfect for preschool through grade 2, will make children, and adults alike, smile and warm your heart at bats adaptability. 

Now, "I will just leave my cherries here.  DO NOT touch them.  I will know if you take one…"