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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Building our house
by Jonathan Bean.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A year-and-a-half-long adventure of building a cozy home in the countryside involves an entire family of four. The oldest child describes the construction of the house, expertly shown in appealing soft-colored illustrations that vary in size from full spreads to small vignettes. Water and electricity are shown being connected to a temporary home in a trailer so the family can live on the property while the work is being done. Friends and family help out from time to time during the creation of the small timber-frame home, but the girl's parents perform the majority of work on their own (a third child arrives in the course of the story). Engaging pictures are reminiscent of Lisa Campbell Ernst's charming illustrations and are based on the building of the author/illustrator's childhood home. An author's note includes Bean's family photographs. Lovingly told, this captivating tale will help satisfy a child's curiosity of what it takes to create a building from scratch.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2013. 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.

Publishers Weekly Not unlike Dan Yaccarino did in All the Way to America, Bean (At Night) turns family history into something larger, in this case a romantic portrait of the rewards of diligence, teamwork, and a DIY mentality. In a concluding note accompanied by family photos, Bean explains that the story is based on his family's experience of building a farmhouse when he was a toddler. A sense of familial dedication and cohesiveness fills the pages, with narration coming from a character modeled after Bean's older sister. The pale, matte illustrations are a flurry of activity (and filled with the sort of construction details that children adore), as the family equips a trailer to serve as temporary digs, buys lumber, builds a foundation, hosts a frame-raising party, and eventually turns to interior work. Bean's pictures provide a supplementary visual narrative (Mom becomes pregnant, an infant appears), and the father offers suitably dadlike truisms like "The right tool for the right job" throughout. A warm look at the nuts and bolts of building a house and turning it into a home. Ages 3-6. Agent: Anna Webman, Curtis Brown. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list An author's note reveals that this picture book is based on personal experience, as Bean's parents built their own house when he was a young child. Here we follow a mother, father, two children (and, eventually, a new baby) over the course of a year and a half through a harsh winter and plenty of lumber pickups all the way to move-in day at their new abode. Told from the point of view of the oldest child, a girl, the challenges and rewards involved in constructing from scratch become clear. The kids are not exempt from the do-it-yourself action, and they happily help fill the loud mixing machine. Bean (At Night, 2007) makes use of every inch of the tall trim size here, filling his pages to the brim with heavily lined illustrations of bustling people and activity often as a series of four vignettes across a spread. What's heartwarming throughout is the depiction of a tight-knit family ( My family makes up a strong crew of four ). The author's concluding personal photos add to the loving feel.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Prince Lestat
by Anne Rice

Book list After exploring the plights of angels, werewolves, and even Jesus Christ himself in a string of novels, Rice (The Wolves of Midwinter, 2013) returns to the Vampire Chronicles, the series that made her famous almost four decades ago. In this new entry, the vampires are imperiled by an entity they know only as the Voice, who telepathically encourages older vampires to slay their younger counterparts. Though many vampires resist the Voice's commands, several powerful elders give in, including ancient Rhoshmandes. Infamous Lestat, who has been avoiding both his own kind and humans, is forced to come out of his self-imposed exile to unite the vampires to deal with this new threat. He's shocked to learn that a vampire scientist has used his DNA to create a human offspring named Viktor, but before Lestat can meet the young man, Viktor is abducted by Rhoshmandes at the behest of the Voice, who is determined to bend the vampires to his will. Featuring beloved characters from previous installments and spanning continents and centuries, Rice's exciting return to the Vampire Chronicles is bound to please her legions of fans. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Rice's return to her vampire series is big book news, and an author tour and initial 300,000 print run are set to meet reader enthusiasm.--Huntley, Kristine Copyright 2014 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Compared to the poorly received Blood Canticle (2003), Rice's newest Vampire Chronicles installment is triumphant. The Voice, a mysterious power, is compelling older vampires worldwide to annihilate the more newly made. Not since the massacre committed by Akasha, the original Queen of the Damned, have so many vampires been killed in one of Rice's novels. The narrative is often nonlinear; in many chapters the elders reveal their backstories before heeding a young vampire's frantic pleas for them to convene in Manhattan to uncover the Voice's agenda and stop it. All wait for Lestat to lead them, but he remains reluctant until the last minute. Rice fills the dense story with plenty of deliciously gory mythology, but many of the info-dumps are bone-dry. Lestat's journey from brat to prince fits his personality, but his attitude irritates even during the book's fascinating climax. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Starred Review. After the release of the last "Vampire Chronicles" novel (2003's Blood Canticle), Rice returns to her popular series, with Lestat back with all of his cohorts and a major change coming in the hierarchy of those in the blood. Vampires all over the world are waging war against one another at the bidding of a mysterious voice. Those in the blood are looking for leadership in the oldest of the blood drinkers, and in the most famous vampire, Lestat. He barely protests. Hitting the sweet spot for fans of Rice's vampire fiction, this outing gives due attention to her series characters, bringing their stories up to the present day, with satisfying results. A list of terms, a prolog, and appendix of characters seamlessly usher in new readers, and help remind those who have been away for awhile. VERDICT Series fans should not miss this latest foray into Rice's magical world built around the undead, but anyone with an interest in the supernatural and aficionados of richly detailed and lush backdrops will enjoy this epic tale. [See Prepub Alert, 5/1/14.] Amanda Scott, Cambridge Springs P.L., PA (c) Copyright 2014. 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.

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Sample List One
Click to search this book in our catalog Crispin, The Cross of Lead
by Avi

Book list Gr. 5^-9. In his fiftieth book, (see interview on p.1609) Avi sets his story in fourteenth-century England and introduces some of his most unforgettable characters--a 13-year-old orphan, seemingly without a name, and a huge, odd juggler named Bear. At first, the boy is known as Asta's Son, but when his mother dies, he learns from a priest that his name is really Crispin. He also quickly comes to realize that he is in grave trouble. John Acliffe, the steward of the manor, reveals himself to be Crispin's mortal enemy and declares the boy a "wolf's-head," which means he is anyone's prey. Clutching his only possession, a lead cross, Crispin flees his village into a vast new world of opportunity--and terror. At his lowest ebb, Crispin meets Bear and reluctantly swears an oath to be his servant. Yet Bear becomes much more than a master--he's Crispin's teacher, protector, and liberator. Avi builds an impressive backdrop for his arresting characters: a tense medieval world in which hostility against the landowners and their cruelties is increasing. There's also other nail-biting tension in the story that builds to a gripping, somewhat confusing ending, which finds Crispin, once weak, now strong. Readers may not understand every nuance of the political machinations that propel the story, but they will feel the shifting winds of change beginning to blow through a feudal society. --Ilene Cooper

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

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-As with Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (Clarion, 1995), the power of a name is apparent in this novel set in 14th-century England. "Asta's son" is all the destitute, illiterate hero has ever been called, but after his mother dies, he learns that his given name is Crispin, and that he is in mortal danger. The local priest is murdered before he can tell him more about his background, and Aycliffe, the evil village steward for Lord Furnival, declares that the boy is a "wolf's head," less than human, and that he should be killed on sight. On the run, with nothing to sustain him but his faith in God, Crispin meets "Bear," a roving entertainer who has ties to an underground movement to improve living conditions for the common people. They make their way to Great Wexley, where Bear has clandestine meetings and Crispin hopes to escape from Aycliffe and his soldiers, who stalk him at every turn. Suspense heightens when the boy learns that the recently deceased Lord Furnival was his father and that Aycliffe is dead set on preventing him from claiming his title. To trap his prey, the villain captures Bear, and Crispin risks his life to save him. Avi has done an excellent job of integrating background and historical information, of pacing the plot so that the book is a page-turner from beginning to end, and of creating characters for whom readers will have great empathy. The result is a meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Gr. 5^-9. In his fiftieth book, (see interview on p.1609) Avi sets his story in fourteenth-century England and introduces some of his most unforgettable characters--a 13-year-old orphan, seemingly without a name, and a huge, odd juggler named Bear. At first, the boy is known as Asta's Son, but when his mother dies, he learns from a priest that his name is really Crispin. He also quickly comes to realize that he is in grave trouble. John Acliffe, the steward of the manor, reveals himself to be Crispin's mortal enemy and declares the boy a "wolf's-head," which means he is anyone's prey. Clutching his only possession, a lead cross, Crispin flees his village into a vast new world of opportunity--and terror. At his lowest ebb, Crispin meets Bear and reluctantly swears an oath to be his servant. Yet Bear becomes much more than a master--he's Crispin's teacher, protector, and liberator. Avi builds an impressive backdrop for his arresting characters: a tense medieval world in which hostility against the landowners and their cruelties is increasing. There's also other nail-biting tension in the story that builds to a gripping, somewhat confusing ending, which finds Crispin, once weak, now strong. Readers may not understand every nuance of the political machinations that propel the story, but they will feel the shifting winds of change beginning to blow through a feudal society. --Ilene Cooper

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

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-As with Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (Clarion, 1995), the power of a name is apparent in this novel set in 14th-century England. "Asta's son" is all the destitute, illiterate hero has ever been called, but after his mother dies, he learns that his given name is Crispin, and that he is in mortal danger. The local priest is murdered before he can tell him more about his background, and Aycliffe, the evil village steward for Lord Furnival, declares that the boy is a "wolf's head," less than human, and that he should be killed on sight. On the run, with nothing to sustain him but his faith in God, Crispin meets "Bear," a roving entertainer who has ties to an underground movement to improve living conditions for the common people. They make their way to Great Wexley, where Bear has clandestine meetings and Crispin hopes to escape from Aycliffe and his soldiers, who stalk him at every turn. Suspense heightens when the boy learns that the recently deceased Lord Furnival was his father and that Aycliffe is dead set on preventing him from claiming his title. To trap his prey, the villain captures Bear, and Crispin risks his life to save him. Avi has done an excellent job of integrating background and historical information, of pacing the plot so that the book is a page-turner from beginning to end, and of creating characters for whom readers will have great empathy. The result is a meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Sample List Two
Click to search this book in our catalog The First Part Last
by Angela Johnson

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-In this lyrical novel, 16-year-old Bobby narrates his journey into teenage fatherhood, struggling to balance school, parenting, and friends who simply do not comprehend his new role and his breathtaking love for his daughter. Winner of the 2004 SRT Coretta Scott King Author Award and the 2004 YALSA Michael L. Printz Award for literary excellence. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly In this companion novel, Johnson's fans learn just how Bobby, the single father for whom Marley baby-sits in Heaven, landed in that small town in Ohio. Beginning his story when his daughter, Feather, is just 11 days old, 16-year-old Bobby tells his story in chapters that alternate between the present and the bittersweet past that has brought him to the point of single parenthood. Each nuanced chapter feels like a poem in its economy and imagery; yet the characters-Bobby and the mother of his child, Nia, particularly, but also their parents and friends, and even newborn Feather-emerge fully formed. Bobby tells his parents about the baby ("Not moving and still quiet, my pops just starts to cry") and contrasts his father's reaction with that of Nia's father ("He looks straight ahead like he's watching a movie outside the loft windows"). The way he describes Nia and stands by her throughout the pregnancy conveys to readers what a loving and trustworthy father he promises to be. The only misstep is a chapter from Nia's point of view, which takes readers out of Bobby's capable hands. But as the past and present threads join in the final chapter, readers will only clamor for more about this memorable father-daughter duo-and an author who so skillfully relates the hope in the midst of pain. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Brief, poetic, and absolutely riveting, this gem of a novel tells the story of a young father struggling to raise an infant. Bobby, 16, is a sensitive and intelligent narrator. His parents are supportive but refuse to take over the child-care duties, so he struggles to balance parenting, school, and friends who don't comprehend his new role. Alternate chapters go back to the story of Bobby's relationship with his girlfriend Nia and how parents and friends reacted to the news of her pregnancy. Bobby's parents are well-developed characters, Nia's upper-class family somewhat less so. Flashbacks lead to the revelation in the final chapters that Nia is in an irreversible coma caused by eclampsia. This twist, which explains why Bobby is raising Feather on his own against the advice of both families, seems melodramatic. So does a chapter in which Bobby snaps from the pressure and spends an entire day spray painting a picture on a brick wall, only to be arrested for vandalism. However, any flaws in the plot are overshadowed by the beautiful writing. Scenes in which Bobby expresses his love for his daughter are breathtaking. Teens who enjoyed Margaret Bechard's Hanging on to Max (Millbrook, 2002) will love this book, too, despite very different conclusions. The attractive cover photo of a young black man cradling an infant will attract readers.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Gr. 6-12. Bobby, the teenage artist and single-parent dad inohnson's Coretta Scotting Award winner, Heaven (1998), tells his story here. At 16, he's scared to be raising his baby, Feather, but he's totally devoted to caring for her, even as she keeps him up all night, and he knows that his college plans are on hold. In short chapters alternating between now and then, he talks about the baby that now fills his life, and he remembers the pregnancy of his beloved girlfriend, Nia. Yes, the teens' parents were right. The couple should have used birth control; adoption could have meant freedom. But when Nia suffers irreversible postpartum brain damage, Bobby takes their newborn baby home. There's no romanticizing. The exhaustion is real, and Bobby gets in trouble with the police and nearly messes up everything. But from the first page, readers feel the physical reality of Bobby's new world: what it's like to hold Feather on his stomach, smell her skin, touch her clenched fists, feel her shiver, and kiss the top of her curly head.ohnson makes poetry with the simplest words in short, spare sentences that teens will read again and again. The great cover photo shows the strong African American teen holding his tiny baby in his arms. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist

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

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