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Book Bites: March 2015


pandaPlease Mr. Panda by Steve Antony (Scholastic Books, January 2015)

Listen closely to the answers to Mr. Panda’s question about who wants doughnuts.  The colorful illustrations will attract the attention of the youngest of readers.  There’s a lesson on manners in here which is subtle but oh so true.


Emerging Readers

princess_blackThe Princess In Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale (Candlewick Press, 2014)

This princess knows how and when to dress in pink and when to dress in black. She’s a sassy heroine who must keep her deeds secret from the nosy Duchess Wigtower.  The Hales know how to write comedy for all ages, and we look forward to many more in this funny series for independent readers.



dessertA Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins & Sophie Blackall (Schwartz & Wade Books, January 2015)

Follow four families in four centuries as they each make the same delicious dessert–Blackberry Fool.  Readers will want to discuss the way food was prepared through the ages. The first young girl picks the berries. The last young boy buys the berries at the supermarket. Pay particular attention to the afterword, as the authors explain their thought process on the illustrations.


rapscottMs. Rapscott’s Girls by Elise Primavera (Dial Books, March 2015)

Ms. Rapscott’s School for Girls of Busy Parents is not your ordinary boarding school. To start, students arrive in flying boxes. Secondly, the curriculum is rather untraditional — the students learn etiquette (how to write thank-you notes) as well as survival (how to cross the street without getting squashed). But the girls learn self-reliance from the wonderful Ms. Rapscott and her two corgis, and readers will find themselves wishing they could find a shipping box at home so they can visit the school as well. A charming, very funny adventure.


echoEcho by Pam Munoz Ryan  (Scholastic, February 2015)

Echo is a Grimm-worthy tale of an extraordinary harmonica which, if passed along when the time is right, will break a curse and fulfill a prophecy. That harmonica weaves together the three seemingly unconnected stories of a young aspiring conductor who sets out to find his father and flee Nazi Germany; an orphaned piano prodigy in Depression-era Philadelphia who wants only to remain together with his brother; and the musically talented daughter of a migrant farmer, struggling with racial bias in early World War II California. Completely engaging individually, together these tales form a masterpiece of storytelling from Pam Munoz Ryan.


broken_starsThese Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner (Disney Hyperion Press, 2013)

In this solid teen sci-fi mystery, Kaufman and Spooner have created a plausible world of danger, intrigue, and teen romance.  Lilac, the snooty daughter of the most influential man in the stratosphere is stuck with heartthrob and military hero Tarver when their escape pod lands on a strange planet.  Each is strong in their own way as they struggle to survive amid increasingly odd circumstances.

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