Monday, November 27, 2017

Aguiar, Nadia. The Great Wave of Tamarind.

Aguiar, Nadia. The Great Wave of Tamarind. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends  2017   372p  $16.99  Hardback  ISBN 978-0-312-38031-1  ms  Fantasy  E-BN                  
This is the third title in the Tamarind trilogy, and it also stands alone very well.  Granny Pearl sends Penny out on her own in search of Tamarind.  Previously, she was with her brother and sister as a baby and again at age five.  Now at twelve she must persevere alone.  Adrift in a rowboat with only her parrot for company, she finds herself suddenly in Tamarind, but in an area where she has never been before.  Things are not the same.  Portals to scary and mysterious places keep opening, a beast is wreaking havoc, and all anyone talks about is the Great Wave that is coming.  With new friends, Penny sets out to perform the three quests that will allow her to become the Bloom Catcher.  She hopes the magic will cure her grandmother.  Penny has to survive ocean depths and the perils of the jungle and outwit the cunning creature who wreaks havoc. 
 
The settings and adventures are highly imaginative and very exciting. The author has created a magical world that is at once delightful and frightening.  Penny shows spunk, imagination, and great determination through her adventures.  The novel is a delight to read and will be enjoyed by middle-school readers.     It would be an excellent purchase for middle-school libraries -- an imaginative, action-packed fantasy.

Summary: Penny returns to Tamarind without her brother and sister.  She is on a quest to be the Bloom Catcher and help her grandmother.  This novel is an amazing imaginative creation.  Sequel to The Lost Island of Tamarind and Secrets of Tamarind.  Grades 5-8.


Quest-Fiction                                               --Joan Theal     

Alexander, William. A Properly Unhaunted Place.

Alexander, William.  A Properly Unhaunted Place. Simon & Schuster/McElderry Books   2017 192p $16.99  Uncorrected Proof ISBN 978-1-4814-6915-9  ms/jr   Ghost Story  VG-BN   

Rosa Diaz comes from a line of librarians who specialize in ghost appeasement.      This is a fast-paced, rollicking story of how Rosa comes to realize it is up to her to solve the town’s problem after her mother has had her powers neutralized. She teams up with Jasper Chevalier (who has always lived in Ingot), who knows the ins and outs of the Middle Age Fair. Librarians will love the constant use of the town library as a setting, and the ending packs a surprise.  This is a well-written book that would make an excellent addition to any middle-school library.

Summary: In this fast-paced, rollicking story, Rosa is a librarian who comes from a long line of librarians who specialize in ghost appeasement.  


Ghost stories, Librarians                                   --Linda McNeil

Anderson, M.T. Symphony for the City of the Dead.

Anderson, M.T.    Symphony for the City of the Dead. Candlewick Press   2017  456p. $14.99  Paperback  ISBN 978-0-7636-9100-4     hs  Historical fiction  VG-BN 

This narrative begins with a graphic description of the tumultuous world into which Dmitri Shostakovich was born in 1906. It continues throughout his life and describes his development as an artist. In his beloved Leningrad he experienced horrific events as desperate citizens struggled to survive. It was amongst the invading Nazi forces into the Soviet Union that Dmitri composed his symphony to honor, awaken, rally, and commemorate the people of Leningrad.

This well-researched book is very informative. Descriptions are horrific and graphic, but accurately describe the times. It is well written and honors Shostakovich in an admirable manner. Many photographs are included throughout the text, adding life to the narrative, and the captions provide additional information. The book concludes with extensive source notes, a bibliography, and an index.

This book is recommended for any high-school library.

Summary: Narrative of how Dmitri Shostakovich composed his symphony to honor, rouse, rally and commemorate the people of his city of Leningrad amid the invading Nazi force in 1943-1944.     


Shostakovich, Dmitri-Fiction                                --Virginia McGarvey

Aronson, Marc, and Marina Budhos. Eyes of the World.

Aronson, Marc, and Marina Budhos. Eyes of the World. Macmillan/Henry Holt     2017  294p  $22.99  Hardback  ISBN 978-0-8050-9835-8  ms/hs  Nonfiction  E-BN    

“To see, to tell, to bear witness.  In a single image ... And show us all you have seen.”  Andre Friedmann and Gerta Pohorylle were two young Jewish refugees in the Europe of the 1930s.  Much better known by their professional names of Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, they were pioneering photojournalists who tried to open the eyes of the public to the dangers in Germany and to the Spanish Civil War.  They were determined to be the first to chronicle the fight against fascism and the tragedies of modern warfare, and their photographs went directly from the battlefields to the pages of the popular news magazines and the world's attention.  They put a “human face” on the horrors of war.  This descriptive narrative is an attractive resource, well researched and insightful.  The writing is cohesive and compelling in telling the ultimately tragic stories of the two subjects.  With a wealth of primary-source materials and photographs, the book ends with multiple appendices, a biographical listing of individuals and groups, a timeline of international events from 1929 to 2017, personal discussions with the authors, chapter notes, lists of resources, and an index. This is a must-purchase for all middle and high-school libraries.

Summary: This photo-biography of Robert Capa and Gerda Taro represents the lives of these pioneering photojournalists in spectacular style.  The descriptive narrative is an attractive resource, well researched and insightful.  The writing is cohesive and compelling in telling their ultimately tragic stories.


Capa, Robert; Taro, Gerda; Photojournalism                  --Susan Ogintz   

Begler, Pete. Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places.

Begler, Pete. Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places. Capstone Young Readers  2017    384p  $14.95  Hardback  ISBN 978-1-62370-799-6  elem/ms  Fantasy/Horror  E-BN         

Nell’s mother has been captured by witches and turned into a bird. Nell and her brothers must travel to the Wicked Places, the realm in which nightmares are made, and she must break the spell before the nightmare becomes a living one.        Ever wake up from a nightmare and wonder where it came from? This book will put that question to even more question! Nightmares come from the Land of Wicked Places, which is related to the Sweetlands (from which good dreams come), separated only by the Deep Sea.     

This well written, fantasy horror novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats as Nell and her brothers try to rescue their mother. Woven into that plot is the subliminal question that readers will ask regarding their own dreams. Could there be this other world that lives within our subconscious, of our conscious world in our sleep state? Pete Begler has written a fabulous novel! As a book author and writer for the movies and television, he has created a story that will captivate an adolescent readership. Metaphors, figurative language, similes, and a challenging vocabulary abound and will engage young readers. The plot can be genrefied as horror and suspense, and the novel can be considered a Stephen King-like thriller for middle-school readers.  It is highly recommended for any elementary or middle-school library as a great book expressing fantasy, horror, and suspense.

Summary: When Nell’s mother is captured by witches and turned into a bird, Nell and her brothers must travel to the Wicked Places and she must break the spell before the nightmare becomes a living one.

Nightmares-Fiction                                                                             --Virginia McGarvey