Wednesday, July 31, 2013


THE PROBLEM WITH BEING SLIGHTLY HEROIC, by Uma Krishnaswami (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster 2013)(ages 8+).  In this sequel to THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING, Dini is back in America visiting her friend Maddie.  Even better, they're in Washington, D.C. for Bollywood megastar Dolly Singh's American debut.  But when Dolly loses her passport and the caterers refuse to make a cake with rose petals and the Smithsonian says "no" to getting an elephant for the party, will they ever pull off a spectacular worthy of Dolly's status?  

THE PROBLEM WITH BEING SLIGHTLY HEROIC is wonderfully quirky and completely hilarious, offering rich characters and a zany look at the foibles of international stardom and celebrity.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP, by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster 2013)(ages 8+).  Raccoon brothers Bingo and J'miah are the newest Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp and they take their responsibilities seriously.  But when there's a menace to the swamp too big for even them to handle, they know they have to awaken -- for the first time in decades -- the ancient and powerful Sugar Man.  But what if he wakes up cranky?   

In the meantime, twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn is trying to deal with the recent loss of his beloved grandfather and make enough fried pies to keep the family shop in business.  But can they ever make and sell enough of the things to fend off the developer who wants the land for an alligator wrestling arena?

THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP offers a lively and, at times, funny story filled with unforgettable characters.  With a voice redolent of the swamps of east Texas, Appelt provides an engaging and atmospheric tale of hope and integrity that spans the generations.

Monday, July 22, 2013


ESCAPE FROM THE PIPE MEN! by Mary G. Thompson (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013)(ages 10+).  Ryan and his sister Becky have grown up happily living in the zoo of the Pipe Men, an alien race who resemble ambulatory flutes.  But when their father is accidentally poisoned, they must travel across the cosmos to find a cure.  Along the way, they discover that their benefactors are not what they seem...

ESCAPE FROM THE PIPE MEN! is a terrific, old-school intergalactic adventure.  Pure fun, a bit of humor, fantastic aliens, and a touch of heart.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


PRIMATES, by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks (First Sceond/MacmIllan 2013)(ages 10+).  In the late 1950s anthropologist Louis Leakey was looking to establish long term studies of the great apes, because he thought that would help in understanding early hominids.  Through the next decade, he met and sponsored Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikis in their studies of chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, respectively.

PRIMATES is a nicely told and illustrated, somewhat fictionalized account of the lives and work of the three now world-renowned primatologists, and their link to Louis Leakey.  Part history, part primatology and part human interest, PRIMATES is both compelling and informative.
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