January 16, 2017

Audio Book Review: Perry's Killer Playlist by Joe Schreiber

Title: Perry's Killer Playlist
Author: Joe Schreiber
Narrator: Steven Boyer

When Perry ends up in Venice on a European tour with his band Inchworm, he can’t resist a visit to Harry’s Bar, where Gobi told him she’d meet him someday. The last time he saw Gobi, five people were assassinated one crazy night in New York City. Well... Gobi shows up, and once again Perry is roped into a wild, nonstop thrill ride with a body count. Double crossings, kidnappings, CIA agents, arms dealers, boat chases in Venetian canals, and a shootout in the middle of a Santa Claus convention ensue.

To the point review:
I loved, loved loved it!  

Let me explain:
I read Au Revoir Crazy European Chick several years ago. It was one of those books that I ended up really enjoying.  It wasn't until much later that I learned there was a sequel! I'd like to say I ran out and listened to it right away.  That's not the case, but when I did finally start it I had a hard time stopping.  There was one day I was mad I was already at work because I wanted to keep listening! I don't think would've liked that as a reason to be gone.  

Just like Au Revoir this book is nonstop.  Once Perry starts running - literally - it barely lets up.  And let me tell you - I had NOTHING figured out in this book.  I swear every chapter I was like "What!?  What?!".  At one point I had to rewind and listen again because I couldn't believe what I just heard! It seriously was that intense.  And just like in the first book I really liked Perry.  What was fun was that he had really grown up more in this book.  Oh he still was clueless at times, but you could see that he was older and stronger.  And Gobi as usual was cryptic, mysterious, headstrong and stubborn.  The two of them together was fun even when it shouldn't have been!

Loved the ending (as well as the beginning and middle).  Glad I got to spend more time With Perry and Gobi! 

Thoughts on the audio book: Very well done.  The narrator had a great voice for Perry.  At times he brought out Perry's strength and maturity and other times letting him still be a teenager.  

Best for:  People who like action and are ok with some bloody scenes.  
Best for ages: 14+
Best stick-with-you image: On the plaza.  That scene was crazy! 

January 13, 2017

Picture Book Review: Water is Water A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul

Title: Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle
Author: Miranda Paul
Illustrator: Jason Chin

Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is water unless...it heats up.
Whirl. Swirl. Watch it curl by. Steam is steam unless...it cools high.

This spare, poetic picture book follows a group of kids as they move through all the different phases of the water cycle. From rain to fog to snow to mist.

I'm not usually one for nonfiction picture books.  I find that sometimes they have too much text so they do not work to read aloud or for younger students to read.  This one is the exception.  It has information about the water cycle by taking the reader through it, but it keeps the text minimal.  More explanation is not needed because the reader can clearly see what is happening to water as the seasons and form change.  Yet if the reader wants more information there are pages at the back that have more in-depth information.  I also liked how the illustrations told a story and shows how water in that part of the cycle or in a certain form is part of our everyday lives.  I think it would help students see how it is all around them.  

I haven't used this one with students yet, but when I do I'll use it to talk about nonfiction and facts.  I think it will be a good start for 2nd graders! 

January 12, 2017

Book Review: Babymouse: Skater Girl by Jennifer L. Holm

Title: Babymouse: Skater Girl
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Illustrator:  Matthew Holm

BEST GYMNAST. BEST speller. Best kazoo player. It seems everyone has a talent except Babymouse. That is, until Babymouse takes to the ice and surprises everyone with her spectacular spins and jubilant jumps. Until the famous Olympic coach, Coach Bearnakorva, discovers her and asks Babymouse to be her new protege. Will Babymouse's dreams of a medal come true? Or is she treading on thin ice?

The short story: Cute story that I can see appealing to my students.

Long story: This is my first Babymouse book.  I have been having tons of girls check them out lately, so I thought it was time I read one.  I can see the appeal.  They are quick reads with lots of silliness but yet a bit of a message.  Plus - the illustrations make them much more appealing to my girls that aren't big on reading.  I will admit I was thrown a few times because the story jumped around a little.  At one point I thought the story had completely switched, but then it went back to the story of Babymouse skating.  Knowing that the books are written this way, if I read another one I'd be more prepared.  I felt for Babymouse a bit.  It does stink when it feels like everyone is good at something and you aren't.  I liked how she worked through this and how her friends helped her in the end.  It sent a message about doing what makes you happy, but it doesn't beat you over the head.  

We have a ton of this series in the media center, and I'm glad we do.  If it keeps bringing them in slowly I can introduce them to even more books! 

January 10, 2017

Gotta Have It! The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

There are certain books that come out that I just have to have.  

This is one of them.  

For one thing - look at that cover.  I'm in love!  But the main reason - I loved Aristotle and Dante.  Loved it.  It kept me from freaking out on a plane ride! Since then I have waited and waited for another book by Benjamin Alire Saenz.  This one sounds really good too.  My daughter is a senior right now, so I think I'll make sure she reads it too.  

Excuse me while I had over to Amazon and pre-order in now! 

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?