Archive for July, 2017

COVERUP

The True Story of the Greatest US Naval Disaster: USS Indianapolis American History

Written by Patrick Spencer

This book is a fictional reenactment of the true story of what happened to the USS Indianapolis in July, 1945, and the trial of its captain, Charles McVay. The cruiser has just completed a mission that was even secret to her captain and crew and was on her way back to base in the Philippines. On a foggy night, she is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine under the command of Hashimoto. In a matter of minutes, the American ship sank below the black waters taking 300 of her crew with her. Some eight or nine hundred men, many burned and injured, were floating in the shark infested seas. It would be five days until they were spotted by air, and by that time less than half remained.

The most important part of this story is why was the ship was never reported missing, and how could the captain who has acted so valiantly to keep his men alive be charged with disobedience and negligence in the loss of his ship. This trial had a serious impact on the captain’s career and later life. What is even more astonishing is that it was not until a sixth grader named Hunter Scott decided to research the McVay trial that the true story became known. What was the mission of the USS Indianapolis and why was its disappearance never reported? Spencer’s reenactment of the tragedy allows the reader to experience the full range of emotions associated with this tragedy.

Recommended for readers age ten and older, particularly those interested in American history and politics.

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COLD CASE?

Bread N’ Butter: Private Rye

Written by A.J. Cosmo

When Floret Viridian, a beautiful head of broccoli, comes to visit Private Rye in the fridge, he suspects trouble. Floret asks him to find out who stole the royal jelly from her last night. She is the maid for the Dom, who will be furious with her when he finds out. Rye goes with his sidekick butter to Cereal Box Alley, the seedy side of town. There he interviews a potato who tells him that Leek is a suspect. The trail leads to the Carton Egg section and eventually to the Soda Can Diner. Eventually Rye solves the mystery after the plot takes a surprising turn.

There is lots of humor and some clever lines filled with creative analogies and plays on words. This beginning chapter book is perfect for reluctant readers. Clever characters, mystery, and humor set up a winning combination. Recommended especially for seven to ten year old readers.

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SWEET T AND THE TURTLE BLOG TOUR

 

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HERE IS MY REVIEW OF BOOK 3 IN THE SWEET T SERIES:

BLOG TOUR

SWEET T AND THE TURTLE TEAM

Written by Cat Michaels

Illustrated by Irene A. Jahns

 

Nine year old Tara is spending the summer on Gull Island at her Great Aunt Mae’s house with her mom and younger sister Jenna. Tara misses her friends. Billy, who lives next door, tries to befriend her. Tara is upset when she sees him being bullied and doesn’t understand why. Turns out Billy has a secret that he is unwilling to share.

Things are slow and pretty boring until one of the staffers at the Aquarium breaks her ankle. Tara’s mother is short staffed and needs volunteers to help supervise the hatching of turtle eggs on the island.

Tara, Jenna, and Billy study hard and dedicate themselves to protecting the turtle nests. But when a tropical storm named Parker threatens to destroy their charges, everyone rushes to save their mission.

I enjoyed the alliteration and onomatopoeia that the author uses so effectively. At the end of each day Tara texts her older sister Kristen. This is an effective way to keep the story fresh in reader’s minds, making it a good choice for beginning or reluctant readers. Michaels also includes a glossary to explain the texting code. In addition, there are “Mind Ticklers,” questions for readers to answer about the story, as well as a few questions soliciting the reader’s opinions.

This beginning chapter book targeted for children ages seven through eleven is well-written and engaging. The soft watercolor illustrations are pleasant and soothing. I recommend this book as the perfect summertime read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JOY RIDE

n Adventure With Anna the Virus

Written by Emma Gertony

Fun illustrated early chapter book for children to explain how viruses enter the body. Anna has been hiding in waiting while inside young Henry’s nose. Like her fellow adenoviruses, Anna has a round shape with spikes and is less than 200 nanometers in size. She and thousands of others like her wait for the perfect moment to travel through the air at 100 miles per hour and land on a surface like a park railing. Here they lie in wait for an unsuspecting child. Their leader, Captain Roger, calls out instructions. George places his hand on the railing; when he touches an itchy nose, the viruses seize the opportunity to slide down his larynx, hoping to eventually reach his lungs. In the meantime, Ted, who is positioned in George’s Thymus valiantly calls out to his troops, the white blood cells and mucus glands to fight off the viruses. Those viruses seem to be winning the battle until George’s body defenses of high fever and chills initiate a visit to the doctor, who prescribes medication and a regimen of good hygiene to defeat the invaders.

This book is richly and vividly illustrated making it a crossover between a picture and early chapter book. Parents of preschoolers might want to use it to explain what makes a child feel sick. Older children will enjoy the humor and the adventure story. Recommended especially for children ages four through ten. Good choice for libraries, doctor’s waiting rooms, and classrooms.

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PUTTING YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET

Gator Eggs: Hard Work Pays Off

Written and illustrated by Sally Huss

 

Just in time for Easter. Gloria and Gary have a profitable farming business. They collect, sell and recycle gator eggs from the Everglades. The author cleverly uses alliteration with the letter g in clever rhymes to lay out her story. As they begin their day, Gloria wakes Gary. She serves the workers their grub, grits with greasy gravy. The workers work in teams to deceive the gators to give up their eggs. Meanwhile, Gloria and her assistant are collecting money from their customers. Gary deals with customers who return defective hatched gator eggs and releases them back into the swamp, recycling the eggs and keeping their gator supply plentiful. He remarks that it is a farmer’s truth that “whatever you send out returns to you in greater amount.”

Wonderful rhymes combining humor and good advice to create an amusing story for the four to eight age group. Illustrations are beautiful and on point. Sure to become one of your favorite Sally Huss books.

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SLOW BURN

Sparks: A Fantasy Short Story

Written by T. Daniel Sheppeard

 

Interesting and quirky short story about Sebastian, a young boy who is an apprentice magician. Sebastian is a gifted student, but he suffers from a lack of concentration. His tutor Maltheus endeavors to teach him how to light fire. Sebastian repeats the incantation but nothing happens. Maltheus sends him back to his dorm to study Dallben’s Meditations and Ruell’s Liturgy. When they meet a few days later, Matheus uses a different strategy to teach Sebastian. Sebastian becomes too successful with the Flame Hand trick and it leads to new problems. By the end of the tale, Sebastian realizes that the true goal of wizardry is not to master others but to master oneself.

This book is a really short story, less than twenty pages. Fans of magic, fantasy and humor will probably enjoy it. Appropriate for middle school, young adult and adult audiences.

 

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RUBY RUNS AMOK

Ruby’s Escape

Written by Richard Parise

Interesting short chapter book centered on a pet white rat who seizes the opportunity of an open cage door to escape and see the world. After Heather leaves for school one day, Ruby, her pet rat, discovers the cage door ajar. Now Ruby has never been outside, but she is a determined, talented, and resourceful rat.

After deciding to make her move, Ruby avails herself of the cat’s food and gnaws a hole through the screen door to escape into the back yard. There she encounters Crafty, a fellow rat, and Digger, a gopher. Ruby almost drowns in a swimming pool, gets trapped in a dumpster, and meets a group of mice living in the garage. When Heather arrives home and discovers that Ruby is missing, she and her cousins search far and wide. Does Ruby want to return to her cage? Will her hiding place be discovered?

While this book is short, it is fun and humorous. Ruby recites some clever poetry and can turn a clever phrase. Beginning readers will love the quirky plot and clever animals. Recommended especially for readers in the six to nine age range.

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