Friday, October 31, 2014

Izzy & Oscar

* This review is provided to you prepublication from the wonderful people at Sourcebooks.

Izzy & Oscar cover art

Estes, A. & Stark, D. (2015). Izzy & Oscar. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.  Illus. by T. Dockray. ISBN: 978-1492601500

Plot Summary:

Izzy wants a pet.  All of her friends have a pet.  So when she finds Oscar the octopus she decides to keep him.  Teaching an octopus to be a good pet is hard.  But their are things that he can do that other pets can not do.  And that makes him just right for Izzy.


Izzy & Oscar is a simple, yet endearing tale of a girl and her octopus.  While not the pet for everyone, Izzy embraces Oscar's unique qualities.  Readers will delight in learning about octopuses and the amazing things that they can do.  The illustrations by Tracy Dockray are fun and colorful and provide a wonderful addition to the story.  The pencil and dye technique adds color and whimsy to the books making it a perfect choice for the story.  A sweet story of love and acceptance or differences and finding strengths.


A Simple Case of Angels

cover art
Adderson, C. (2014). A simple case of angels. Ontario, House of Anansi. $14.95. ISBN 9781554984305.

Gr 2–5— June Bug has behavior issues. She really can't help it. After all, she is just a puppy. But when her owner, Nicola, hears that June Bug's days with the family may be numbered, she decides that doing a good deed will solve the problem and ensure the dog's place in heaven and in the family. Shady Oaks retirement home is just the opportunity that Nicola, her new friend Lindsay, and June Bug need. But all is not well at the retirement home, and some patients are being kept against their will. Could these special patients be more than they appear? Will June Bug's and Nicola's good deeds be enough to save June Bug and keep her with the family? Young readers will enjoy and appreciate the struggle to "be good." Nicola is a relatable character with qualities that will resonate with girls and boys alike. The portrayed family dynamic is healthy, yet not without normal struggles. One of the most touching themes is the need to protect and respect the elderly and ensure that every person is treated with dignity. A sweet-natured and thoughtful read.—Elizabeth Speer, Cisco College, TX

Additional Reading:
Additional Books by Caroline can be found at
The Angel Tree by Daphne Benedis-Grab  ISBN 978-0545613781

Family Activities:
Visit a nursing home
Learn about therapy dogs
Make Angel wings:  This tutorial uses cardboard and a paper mache technique

Little Man

Little Man cover art
Bibliography:  MANN, Elizabeth. Little Man. 208p. Mikaya. Oct. 2014. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781931414494; pap. $8.95. ISBN 9781931414500.  

Every so often I am asked to review books for School Library Journal.  Sometimes these books are really well written.  This was one of those times.  Below you will find my published review for Little Man.

Gr 4-7 -- A charming story of a Caribbean middle school boy named Albert. Small for his age, Albert is dubbed Little Man by schoolmates. Lonely after his best friend moves and feeling out of sorts in a new school, Albert is not quite feeling like himself. While attending his father's music gig, the boy is introduced to a group of Mocko Jumbies, or stilt walkers. He is invited to join in and learn their craft. He soon begins an exciting journey of self-discovery and faces his fears. This slim novel begins slowly, but quickly picks up steam and carries the momentum all the way to the last page. Albert is a likable and relatable character. The setting is an integral part of the story and is clearly explained without feeling like a geography lesson. Readers will enjoy learning about the fabulous art of stilt walking and Albert's journey to find his place among the tall performers. Overall, a well written and enjoyable tale with Caribbean flair and the wonders of childhood discovery. -- Elizabeth Speer, Cisco College, TX

Speer, E. (2014). Little man. School Library Journal, 60(10), 106.

Additional Reading:

Sky Dancing by Ellen Erwin    ISBN 978-0982555422

Fun Activities:

Make coffee can stilts -