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Review: Sisters (2014)

sisters

It is summertime, so I finally had a chance to read this book. Getting my hands on it during the school year was impossible. Our students, both the girls and boys, are loving this graphic novel about a family that takes a road trip from California to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Sisters is actually book 2 in a series by Raina Telgemeier. I have not read the first book, and felt that this one stands alone just fine. It is a quick, engaging read and has the power to hook a lot of young readers. I enjoyed the story much more than I expected to. Actually, I really loved it. This may be because the author is close to my age and she wrote about her own life as a child, growing up in a way that seemed very familiar to me.

This book has been nominated by kids for the Colorado Children’s Book Award in 2016. Despite the very stiff competition it has, I’m going to go ahead and predict right now that this one will win the kids’ votes. -Erin

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Review: Secrets of Selkie Bay (2015)

selkieSecrets of Selkie Bay by Shelley Moore Thomas

Years ago I saw a movie called The Secret of Roan Inish. It was a story of Ireland, family, and selkies. That story stuck with me through the years and the Irish folklore of selkies continues to fascinate me, so when I saw this title available to read and review in advance through NetGalley, I jumped on it. I was not disappointed.

Set in an Irish seaside town, Secrets of Selkie Bay tells the tale of three girls and their Da trying to pick up the pieces after the disappearance of their mother and wife. Questions abound, adding intrigue to the story. Is it possible that their mother is a selkie, and has found her seal coat and returned to the sea? Why won’t Da spend the money in the sugar jar despite their financial distress? Could there really be an enchanted island in the mist, home of selkies and buried treasure?

I look forward to purchasing this title for our library and book talking it with our students. How many of them have heard of selkies, I wonder? Shelley Moore Thomas did an excellent job developing the characters in the book, touching on themes such as loss, family and the environment, and creating an air of magical mystery in a seaside town.

The book is not without flaws. I usually love covers done by Gilbert Ford, but this one is lost on me.  The seal drawings look pained and sad. Overall, however, this is book I will recommend highly to my students!

-Erin

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Review: Wolfie the Bunny (2015)

wolfieWolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman has been getting some Caldecott buzz, so I checked it out from our public library. I must say, it is adorable! I immediately fell in love with the illustrations in the end pages. My five year old loves end pages and we enjoyed talking about the different characters we saw. (He noticed the drawing of Wolfie much sooner than I did.) The illustrations are bold, full of texture, and they draw you right in to the story. The book improves on re-reading because you will notice something new in the illustrations that you had not seen previously. This is always a plus in my book, because my children like to hear the same story over and over again. (Research supports this as a good thing!) I loved the honey bears in the market and the grumpy expressions on Dot’s face. My eight year old daughter enjoyed the story line because she could relate as a big sister who is not always thrilled with her little brother. The story is cute but it is the illustrations that really won me over. It just may be a Caldecott contender.   -Erin