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Click to search this book in our catalog The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Dead End in Norvelt
by Jack Gantos

Book list Looks like a bummer of a summer for 11-year-old Jack (with a same-name protagonist, it's tempting to assume that at least some of this novel comes from the author's life). After discharging his father's WWII-souvenir Japanese rifle and cutting down his mom's fledgling cornfield, he gets grounded for the rest of his life or the rest of the summer of 1962, whichever comes first. Jack gets brief reprieves to help an old neighbor write obituaries for the falling-like-flies original residents of Norvelt, a dwindling coal-mining town. Jack makes a tremendously entertaining tour guide and foil for the town's eccentric citizens, and his warmhearted but lightly antagonistic relationship with his folks makes for some memorable one-upmanship. Gantos, as always, deliver bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws, though the story gets stuck in neutral for much of the midsection. When things pick up again near the end of the summer, surprise twists and even a quick-dissolve murder mystery arrive to pay off patient readers. Those with a nose for history will be especially pleased.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. "The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again." Memorable in every way. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In 1962, Jack accidentally discharges his father's war relic, a Japanese rifle, and is grounded for the summer. When a neighbor's arthritic hands get the best of her, his mother lifts the restriction and volunteers the 12-year-old to be the woman's scribe, writing obituaries for the local newspaper. Business is brisk for Miss Volker, who doubles as town coroner, and Norvelt's elderly females seem to be dropping like flies. Prone to nosebleeds at the least bit of excitement (until Miss Volker cauterizes his nose with old veterinarian equipment), Jack is a hapless and endearing narrator. It is a madcap romp, with the boy at the wheel of Miss Volker's car as they try to figure out if a Hell's Angel motorcyclist has put a curse on the town, or who might have laced Mertie-Jo's Girl Scout cookies with rat poison. The gutsy Miss Volker and her relentless but rebuffed suitor, Mr. Spizz, are comedic characters central to the zany, episodic plot, which contains unsubtle descriptions of mortuary science. Each quirky obituary is infused with a bit of Norvelt's history, providing insightful postwar facts focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in founding the town on principles of sustainable farming and land ownership for the poor. Jack's absorption with history of any kind makes for refreshing asides about John F. Kennedy's rescue of PT-109 during World War II, King Richard II, Francisco Pizarro's conquest of Peru, and more. A fast-paced and witty read.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Mr. Wuffles!
by David Wiesner

Publishers Weekly Mr. Wuffles, a handsome black cat with white paws and an arrogant air, couldn't care less about the many toys purchased for his amusement. But he homes in on a metal object (imagine two doll-size colanders soldered shut), imperiling the tiny green aliens inside. Mr. Wuffles bats their spaceship about playfully, damaging it, and in a daring move, the aliens break for safety under the radiator. Wiesner constructs his story in a mix of full spreads and comics-style panels. Though the artwork, done in watercolor and India ink, is superbly colored and composed, the most inventive aspect of the story may be the hieroglyphic language the three-time Caldecott Medalist has invented for his aliens: this is a nearly wordless book full of dialogue no one (excepting maybe Wiesner) will know how to speak aloud. The aliens succeed in befriending the insects that live within the walls of the house, and together they concoct a plan to outwit Mr. Wuffles-yes, humans aren't even a factor in this story of extraterrestrial first contact. Wiesner once again produces a fantasy adventure that isn't like anything else around. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 4-Mr. Wuffles ignores all his fancy cat toys. Still sporting price tags, they line the hallway as he strolls by. But resting quietly among the feathers, balls, and mice is a tiny metal spaceship, and this catches his attention. His playful batting knocks around the alien explorers inside, causing bumps but no injuries. The ship's flying disks do not survive, however, and the aliens set out to explore the house and repair their craft. Barely escaping Mr. Wuffles's claws, they dash behind the radiator and discover primitive art of the cat's previous battles and make friends with the house's insects. The bugs help the aliens repair the spaceship, avoid capture, and fly away. Nearly wordless, the story is told through pictures and the languages of the ants and aliens, depicted by dashes and symbols. The book is fairly complex, best suited for elementary students, who will enjoy decoding the aliens' cryptographic alphabet. Wiesner humorously captures the curiosity and confusion of Mr. Wuffles and his human, who remains oblivious to the drama underfoot. The idea of a separate, tiny world next to ours makes a great premise, and Wiesner's engaging art and lively pacing carry the day. Visual storytelling at its best.-Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Once again Wiesner dips into his irrepressible imagination to deliver a mostly wordless conceptual picture book where the mundane and the magical collide. Mr. Wuffles, an aloof, perspicacious black cat, takes no interest in his playthings, save one peculiar toy that looks something like a hobnail tea strainer. Closer inspection, like only Wiesner can provide, reveals that it is a miniature alien spacecraft experiencing mechanical trouble. Its little green passengers evade Mr. Wuffles and retreat to a hole beneath the radiator, where they discover a series of cave paintings immortalizing battles between the cat and troops of ants and ladybugs. The aliens and the bugs join forces and, speaking in rectangular pictographic word balloons (that some readers will thrill to decipher), hatch a plan to repair the spaceship, foil the feline, and return home. The drama plays out across long, low panels full of kinetic energy and comic detail, all captured in the artist's careful watercolor renderings. In the end, the mission is successful and the aliens escape, but not without leaving behind a few reminders of their visit and an updated record of the epic conflict on the inner wall. Wiesner's many fans will delight at poring over the detailed account of this master plan, again and again, discovering something new with each successive reading. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Wiesner is a three-time Caldecott winner. Three. Fans will be ready to pounce.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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