Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bowen, Carl. Bone Yard. (Firestormers.)

Bowen, Carl. Bone Yard.  (Firestormers.)  Capstone Publishers  2017  112p  $25.99  ISBN 978-1-4965-3306-7  elem/ms  Adventure  VG                                

Upper-level-elementary and middle-school students who enjoy learning about natural disasters will appreciate this new title in the Firestormers series.  Written in an easy-to-comprehend manner, students meet Sergeant Amalia Rendon and the rest of her Firestormers, an elite firefighting crew who are battling a tremendous wildfire in Denali National Park in Alaska.  With over twenty thousand acres of wilderness to worry about, the Firestormers are facing a huge undertaking.  While most of the wildfires are uncomplicated and can be contained, Sergeant Rendon and her team realize that there’s a small village in the path of the wildfire.  As eleven thousand acres of wildfire are approaching it, Sergeant Rendon is desperate to get the people in the village to leave their land so that they will be safe.  The houses and people live very modestly, without any form of electricity and with only basic necessities found on the land.  When the people from the village don’t want to move, Sergeant Rendon takes them to the fire scene and shows them what is coming.  After seeing the blaze for themselves, the village people decide it is best to relocate after all.  Students will cheer for the Firestormers as they try to save the homes from destruction.

The author includes a glossary of terms, firefighting equipment, and wildfire facts.

As of this review, four titles have been published in this new series.  Each title features the elite crew of heroes battling wildfires.

Wildfires have increased in number, size, and severity, and only the Firestormers are equipped to take on these immense infernos.  "When they are assigned to create a fire break to contain a wildfire burning near Denali National Park in Alaska, Amalia Rendon's crew of elite Firestormers runs into a problem--a small village of stubborn people living off the land who do not want to leave their homes and are too ready to dismiss the danger to their lives.”  This book would make a good addition to an elementary or middle-school collection for casual reading. 
           

Wildfires-Fiction, Denali National Park and Reserve-Fiction         --Charleen Forba-MacCain   

Bowen, Carl. Elite Firefighting Crew. (Firestormers.)

Bowen, Carl.  Elite Firefighting Crew.   (Firestormers.)  Capstone Publishers  2016  223p  $8.95  ISBN 978-1-62370-756-9  ms  Conflict  E-BN            

This is an exciting action story with elite firefighters and two or more story threads.  It is a compilation of at least two shorter titles in the Firestormers series.  One involves the story of Sgt. Rendon, a female crew chief who needs to convince a group of people to leave their homes for safety.  A second major thread is the rescue of Sgt. Rodger’s brother and his crew.  These two story threads are printed in the separate titles of Bone Yard and Hot Spot.  The story lines about Lt. Garrett and Chief MacElreath may also have been published in the smaller editions.  The various story lines alternate through the chapters.
 
The story is exciting and includes lots of danger, firefighting strategies, and descriptions of equipment.  Middle-school readers will love this title.        

Summary: Fighting a wildfire in Klamath National Forest, one crew chief must convince a group of people to leave their home in the face of the fire.  Another team must perform a search-and-rescue mission for a missing crew of local firefighters.  Grades 4-8.


Fire-fighting-Fiction                                                                                                    --Joan Theal

Brezenoff, Steve. The Case of the Counterfeit Painting. (Museum Mysteries.)

Brezenoff, Steve.  The Case of the Counterfeit Painting.  (Museum Mysteries.)  Capstone Publishers  2017      128p    $25.99  ISBN 978-1-4965-2518-5  elem  Mystery/Detective  VG        

Elementary students who enjoy mystery fiction will like this new title in the Museum Mysteries series.  Written in an easy-to-comprehend fashion, the novel introduces students to the four Capitol City Sleuths: Amal Farah, Raining Sun, Clementine Wim, and Wilson Kipper.  In this installment, Clementine sees what she thinks is a famous painting by Goings being carried by two people during the Dino Festival.  She finds this strange, because she knew the painting was going to be featured at an upcoming exhibit on Photorealism at the Capitol City Art Museum.  Immediately, Clementine thinks the painting has been stolen, but when she sees it at the museum, she is surprised.  Unsure of what to do, she enlists her friends to try to see if the painting at the museum is fake or real.  Students will cheer for Clementine and her friends as they help solve the mystery and retrieve the real painting. 

The author includes colorful graphics scattered throughout, a glossary of terms, discussion questions, writing prompts, information on the genre of art known as photorealism, biographical information on the painter Ralph Goings, and biographical information on the author and illustrator. 

As of this review, eight titles have been published in this new series, Museum Mysteries.  Each title follows four friends as they take in culture and solve crimes in the Capitol City museums. 

Summary: “While searching for her friends at the Dino Festival, Clementine Wim runs into two people carrying what she thinks is the “Tiled Lunch Counter” (a famous painting) away from the Capitol City Art Museum, but when she checks the painting is still hanging in place--and before she can track down the thieves, and prove that the painting now hanging in the museum is a forgery, she has to convince her friends that she is not imagining things.”  Would make a good addition to an elementary collection for casual reading.

Museums-Fiction, Art-Fiction                                                           --Charleen Forba-MacCain

Burgan, Michael. Death At Kent State: How a Photograph Brought the Vietnam War Home To America.

Burgan, Michael.  Death At Kent State: How a Photograph Brought the Vietnam War Home To America.  Capstone Publishers  2017  64p            $25.99  ISBN 978-0-7565-5424-8     ms/hs  Series: Captured History  Nonfiction  VG-BNS             

This book about the Kent State shootings during the Vietnam War demonstrates the impact a single news photograph was able to have on public opinion regarding the war, the antiwar movement, and the government’s actions at the time.  Although this book discusses a very tragic and important event in recent American history, it includes an incorrect and misleading statement about the US intervention in Vietnam. This statement on page 4 is incorrect: “Since the end of World War II, the Soviet Union had tried to spread its influence and communist system of government around the world. The United States resisted those efforts while supporting democratic governments and trying to build a worldwide capitalist economic system.” The actual truth is that Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Vietnamese fight for liberation from French domination, approached the US for help, and when the US refused him, he turned to the Communist world for support for his struggle. This fact is never stated in the book, and the implication is that the Soviets started the war in Vietnam, which is utterly incorrect.

Despite this biased and incorrect statement, this reviewer is giving the book a BONs rating because it does demonstrate the power of a photograph to change history. The John Filo photograph from Kent State had a profound impact on history and on the legal case that ensued from the event. This is clearly demonstrated in the book, with text, a pictorial timeline, a glossary, a list of additional resources, prompts for critical thinking, source notes, a select bibliography, and an index.    

The series Captured History showcases various historical events in American history to demonstrate the power of a photograph to change the course of public opinion and policy. Others in the series cover the JFK assassination, the Birmingham march of 1963, the Civil War, and Ruby Bridges’ historic walk to school in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Recommended for middle- and high-school collections and history classes.
           
Summary:  This book about the Kent State shootings during the Vietnam War demonstrates the impact a single news photograph was able to have on public opinion regarding the war, the antiwar movement, and the government’s actions at the time.         


Kent State Shootings                                                                                                  --Carol Kennedy

Burgan, Michael. Total Devastation: The Story of Hurricane Katrina.

Burgan, Michael.  Total Devastation: The Story of Hurricane Katrina.  Capstone Publishers  2017  112p  $23.99  ISBN 978-1-4914-8452-4  elem/ms  Series: Tangled History.  Nonfiction  E-BN               

Told from the viewpoints of weather forecasters, hospital workers, police, citizens and ministers in a chronological format, this book takes the reader on a harrowing journey into the aftermath of the hurricane that devastated New Orleans in 2005.  Hurricane Katrina preparations were inadequate, shelters became overcrowded and unlivable, people were stranded in flooded homes, patients needing electronic devices were without power, and hospitals had to evacuate as best they could.  For 48 hours or more, valiant, heroic people did their best to help and care for the thousands who remained in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina broke the levees. The author makes use of a gripping narrative that will stay with the reader long after finishing the book.  This book could serve as a hi/lo reader for middle school. It will fit into discussions of community preparedness, natural disasters, and events that changed people’s lives.  It includes an index, a glossary, follow-up facts (such as the population decline of 200,000 people , including those who did not return after evacuation), a timeline and discussion questions.  Color photos show the breadth of destruction and people’s efforts to rescue others. Strongly recommended for library collections as the narrative format provided by those who lived the event is compelling and the photos make the text come alive.

The series Tangled History includes two new books that offer a look at life-changing events such as the Holocaust and Hurricane Katrina through personal narrative.  Each book includes a timeline, a glossary, discussion questions, index,  and a bibliography. Grades 4-9. Hi/lo for middle school.
           
Summary: Told from the viewpoints of weather forecasters, hospital workers, police, citizens and ministers in a chronological format, this book takes the reader on a harrowing journey through the hurricane that devastated New Orleans in 2005.  Gripping narrative.  Gr 4-9.

Hurricane Katrina, Natural disasters                                                                          --Lois McNicol