Thursday, September 22, 2016

Scott, Elaine. Our Moon.

Scott, Elaine.  Our Moon.  Houghton Mifflin/Clarion  2015  71p  $18.99  ISBN 978-0-547-48394-8  elem/ms     Nonfiction  E-BN           

This is a comprehensive up-to-date book filled with illustrations and full-color photographs about our nearest neighbor. It also includes new theories about how the moon was formed and the facts that support its habitation.   This is a well-written and beautifully formatted book that relates new theories and interesting facts for young readers. The information presented is well supported by relevant illustrations and colorful photographs to illustrate the content.

This book will be an asset to any library because research skills
are encouraged with a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. This is a well-written book that would make an excellent addition to any school library. It has been recommended for our Books of Note.

Summary: This is a comprehensive up-to-date book filled with illustrations and full-color photographs about our nearest neighbor. It also includes new theories about how the moon was formed and the facts that support its habitation.       


Moon                                                              --Linda McNeil

Rocha, K.E. Secrets of Bearhaven.

Rocha, K.E.  Secrets of Bearhaven.  Scholastic Press  2016  244p  $14.99      ISBN 978-0-545-81303-7  elem/ms     Fantasy  VG

Spencer’s parents have disappeared while they were on a mission to rescue abused bears. His uncle whisks him away to safety in Bearhaven, a bear town where bears live an almost human existence, including being able to communicate with humans. Grades 5-7. Spencer has always known his parents researched bears and are activists who rescue bears from abusive situations.  When his uncle comes to whisk him away after his parents have failed to keep in contact, Spencer realizes his parents are bear superheroes, having established the secret community of Bearhaven where rescued bears can live their lives in comfort and safety. Bears can even communicate with humans through technology called Bear-Com.  With the assistance of Kate, a rambunctious, consistently perky cub, Spencer learns the skills of Bear Guards, who patrol the grounds and go along on rescue missions. Spencer even learns the guttural sounds of specific bear terminology such as the words for “friend, go, hurry, and “attack. Spencer is determined to go along on a rescue mission for RoRo and her cubs, who are being used in bear baying events--think a cock fight, but more unfair to the bears, as their teeth and claws are filed down while the dogs that attack only suffer from starvation. The brutal scene in the arena may not be appropriate for young readers. That scene, related by Spencer, will linger for a long time. As Spencer uncovers an even deeper abuse/kidnapping plot, he does manage to rescue RoRo and her cubs, only to have to leave his mother and father behind. There is sure to be a sequel about the rescue of Mom and Dad. Full of action.                 
Summary: Spencer’s parents have disappeared while they were on a mission to rescue abused bears. His uncle whisks him away to safety in Bearhaven, a bear town where bears live an almost human existence, including being able to communicate with humans. Grades 5-7.


Animal abuse-Fiction, Fantasy                               --Lois McNicol

Rocha, K. E. Secrets of Bearhaven.

Rocha, K. E.  Secrets of Bearhaven.  Scholastic Press  2016  244p  $14.99  ISBN 978-0-545-81303-7  ms/jr  Fantasy  VG  

Spencer’s parents are kidnapped while they are away on business. Saving abused bears and providing shelter and support for them is their business. His Uncle Mark takes Spencer to Bearhaven, which is a town where bears live and communicate like humans. Spencer has been involved with bears since he was born. His parents spend their lives supporting abused bears and rescuing them from evil-minded people. His parents and an adopted bear belonging to Professor Weaver established a community called Bearhaven long ago, where rescued bears can heal and live safely with other bears. It is a well-thought-out, self-sufficient community administrated by the bears. They have the technical expertize to fortify their community and provide railroad transportation to other areas.

Spen
cer blends right into the community and learns about all the things his parents have accomplished. He wants to help. He feels that he should be on the rescue mission to recapture the bears who are being put into a bear-baying event. But everyone thinks he is too young to go on the mission.

Kate, an adorable, spunky cub, puts Spencer through a training course to learn to speak and understand the Ragayo language and how to walk quietly in the woods. Spencer manages to sneak onto the rescue train and is subsequently allowed to participate. His small size and the knowledge of the bears’ language prove to be a plus to the rescue mission. The mission does not get to the bear-baying event in time to save RoRo and her cubs from it. They find her tattered and abused. Spencer does manage to save RoRo and her cubs’ lives, but he cannot find his parents. There will probably be another book.

This is a well-written book for young readers, but I hesitate to recommend it for our Books of Note because of the graphic wording used to describe the bear
-baying event and the abused condition in which Spencer finds the bears underground. I feel that it could have been just as effectively described in much less vivid detail for young readers.

Summary: Spencer’s parents are kidnapped while they are away on business. Saving bears and providing shelter and support for abused bears is their business. His Uncle Mark takes Spencer to Bearhaven, which is a town where bears live and communicate like humans. Spencer subsequently becomes involved with saving some bears himself, while also looking for his missing parents.


Animal fantasy                                                    --Linda McNeil

Philbrick, Rodman. The Big Dark.

Philbrick, Rodman.  The Big Dark.  Blue Sky Press, imprint of Scholastic      2016  178p.  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-545-78975-2      elem/ms  Science fiction  VG-BN

One New Year’s Eve, the electricity in Charlie Cobb’s small town of Harmony, New Hampshire, suddenly goes out, and everyone is left without heat or electricity and must figure out how to cope.  Apparently the power outage has been caused by an electromagnetic pulse, and nothing can be done about it except for the town to survive as best it can through community effort and cooperation. In the midst of this crisis, one man, the school custodian, proves himself a natural leader, while another, a crazed militiaman with White supremacist ideas, takes it into his head to bully everyone in the town by stealing supplies, burning down the supermarket, wielding his rifle irresponsibly, and even attempting murder. Charlie has one main concern ... his mother, who is diabetic, is running out of medicine, and there is no easy way to find more for her. He must take matters into his own hands and try to find her the medicine she needs, even if it means cross-country skiing to a larger city thirty miles away.

In this gripping coming-of-age adventure, the reader gets to know the different kinds of people who make up a community, and all their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. The result is a very satisfying read that points to the strength of community and love in the face of a dire ecological crisis.  Philbrick keeps the tension going until the very last page, and has a remarkable gift for bringing characters and situations to life and making the reader care about them. Recommended for older elementary and middle-school kids of both sexes.           

Summary: On New Year’s Eve a solar flare caused by an electromagnetic pulse causes all the electricity to go out, and Charlie and his family and neighbors must figure out how to survive without heat and electricity.  Meanwhile, a nasty neighbor uses the situation to try to take over the town. 


Science fiction, Electrical emergency-Fiction                     --Carol Kennedy

Laure, Estelle. This Raging Light.

Laure, Estelle.  This Raging Light.  Houghton Mifflin 2015  278p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-544-53429-2  ms/hs  Realistic fiction  E-BN 

This is a well-paced book about a high-school girl having to take the reins and keep the household functioning when her mother takes off for a supposed vacation. It turns out that her father has been admitted to an institution after he attacked and tried to strangle her mother one night. Lucille is under stress as she tries to balance a budget so that she can provide for her sister and herself, with virtually no money. Her BFF (Eden) and her twin brother Digby try to help her solve problems as they occur. It is a gripping read that constantly inserts conflicts into Lucille’s life, like romance, slipping on a rock and almost drowning, finding a job that fits her schedule, and finding friendships in the most unusual places.
                 
This is a well-written book that would make an excellent addition to any school library. It has been recommended for our Books of Note.

Summary: Lucille Bennett is a high-school student who must deal with the real world and a little sister when her mother disappears and her father is not to be found.        


Families-Fiction                                                  --Linda McNeil