Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Welcome to Moonhaven

Welcome to Moonhaven
Author: Annie Auerbach
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Helen

http://roundlake.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2259536035_welcome_to_moonhaven

Summary: This is from the creators of Ice Age and Rio and it tells the story of a hidden civilization. The battle between good and evil is being fought until a teenage girl is transported into the forest kingdom to help save their world as well as ours.

Review: Moonhaven is a beautiful city deep in the woods and is home to Jinn, amazing forest creatures as tall as a blade of grass. They are brave warriors trying to protect their world from the Boggans, who want to destroy all growing things. The book is merely twenty-seven pages, but beautifully illustrated with full color artwork.  Any child will love the visuals and the story of this sweet little book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mustache Baby

Mustache Baby
Author: Bridget Heos
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Denise Z.

http://roundlake.bibliocommons.com/search?t=smart&search_category=keyword&q=mustache%20baby
 
Summary: A picture book about baby Billy, who is born with a mustache, and his parents, who must figure out if it’s a Good-Guy mustache, or a Bad-Guy mustache.

Review: This is the sweetest and funniest children’s picture book I’ve read in a while. It is also perfect for storytime. The cute and silly illustrations will keep young readers interested. Billy’s imagination makes the story fun and introduces different characterizations and draws suspense onto whether his mustache is a good-guy or bad-guy mustache. Who knew such a wonderful story could be based on a mustache! The ending is quite funny too!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wonder

Wonder
Author: R.J. Palacio
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Leslie

http://roundlake.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1887591035_wonder

Summary: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
 
Review: I just loved this book and am still thinking about it days after I’ve finished reading it. It is a great read for ages 9 and up to adults because it gives us all a look into the perspective of someone who was born looking differently but is still a person with feelings just the same. I think it is a good lesson for adults just as much as kids about empathy and loyalty and that a simple kind gesture can mean the world to another person. It is great for kids who may feel pressured by their peers as well to be unkind in order to be “cool” and just the pressures of fitting in in middle school.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cat Says Meow: And Other Animalopoeia

Cat Says Meow: And Other Animalopoeia
Author: Michael Arndt
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Aleece

http://roundlake.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2325327035_cat_says_meow_and_other_animalopoeia
 
Summary: Animals and the sounds they make are paired up in this colorful picture book.
 
Review: This is a very creative book that takes letters and creates the shape of animals with the sounds that the animals make (using the letters to spell that sound). This is a very cute book but it geared towards older kids because younger kids may not fully understand the letters creating the animal shapes. Parents will love this book though, and kids will grow into this simple, yet catchy, book.
 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Shark in the Dark

The Shark in the Dark
Author: Peter Bently
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Christi

http://roundlake.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1675010035_shark_in_the_dark

Summary: A shark that has been frightening all the other fish gets its comeuppance when the other sea creatures band together to teach it a lesson.

Review: I picked this book to read at storytime. I really think the kids will enjoy the illustrations, and it being a shark book should score it some points too. Since I am reading this aloud, I appreciate the rhyming text because it just flows better. The story itself is a lesson in working together to accomplish a goal – which in this case was scaring away the hungry shark. Overall, this is a great book with a good message.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Journey (PS3 Game)

Developers: Thatgamecompany
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Todd


http://roundlake.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2190633035_journey

Summary: A journey through an alien land of sand, the past and future set on a path of beauty. A path you not need to cross alone.

Review: Journey is a beautiful, breathtaking game. It’s entirely possible to leave the review as that line, because at the core that’s all I can say. The graphics of the game are stunning, combining with emotional music to become an example how the medium is for a form of art when done right. While it is possible to play the game alone there is unique feature of the game, when you are connected to the internet your “journey” will join with another random player in the world. The bonus of playing with another person is a sense of comrade with your silent companion and the ability to help generate the ability to fly.

Now I have to beg you, if you plan on going into this game to be surprised read no further. It will not take very long; the game’s length is only about two to three hours. But please, DO NOT read below anymore if that’s your choice



When I played the game I didn’t know what to expect other than the visuals were supposed to be beautiful and that I’d likely end up playing with some random stranger. What I got were scenery that caught my breath, and a stranger who for a short time was a friend. The story is that you are a member of an alien race on the path to a mountain in the distance while exploring the ruins of your civilization; lost so long ago the sands have consumed it. Along the way you, and the person your journey with, learn the history from ancient glyphs and ancestors that red cloth powered everything. It’s what allows the player to fly for short times, but the supply of it is limited. And desiring it all led to a war and the creation of guardians, giant living stone creatures that are first met in and dark underwater-like level. The cry from one of those creatures and atmosphere giving me the chill of dread that I haven’t had in a game in so long, but I thankfully had a partner on the journey. But soon after that dark area the journey leads base of the frigid mountain, where the wind roars and pushing you and your partner back. And the guardians roam the skies and the only safety from their blasts is inside others of their kind broken to pieces. But at the end of that area is where my heart felt the most emotion, because after getting past all that danger and beauty on the journey the bit of red cloth you have to fly is ripped away by a blizzard’s wind along with your partner’s. And you keep going up, the movements of both getting slower and slower till finally one of you falls. And for me the first to go was my partner, I was so caught up in the game I actually let out a small “no” of horror and disbelief. It was then that I realized that the game ended in death, or so it appeared. The screen went white and the six ancestors empowered me, shooting past the guardians and directly to the mountaintop alone. After the dim blizzard of death I’d just left the sight of sun shining on the mountain peaks was just beautiful. For the first time the snow wasn’t something to fear, but enjoy as the sights were taken in. And at the end of the path, the true end of the game, was again a slow walk into white. But instead of the choking death of a dark blizzard, it was a walk into the light streaming through a crevice in the mountain. At which point you become a slow stream of light, slowly retracing your path through the land while listening to music that made me want to cry at least one tear. The game ends with you back at the opening screen, asking if you wish to start a new journey. The game has no dialogue and the ending is really left up for interpretation. Did the game end in death to be reborn, the fact that game ends back in the beginning being symbolic of the cycle life leading to death and back? Or did the character survive and went on changed by the knowledge and experiences of the journey? I honestly can’t say, but now that I’ve told you about it I hope you get to experience it soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Meeting Cezanne

Meeting Cezanne
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Helen

http://roundlake.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2307984035_meeting_czanne
 
Summary: This is the story of Yannick, a young Parisian boy, who is sent to Provence to live with his aunt and uncle when his mother becomes ill. He wanders the beautiful countryside finding Cezanne in all its beauty. Provence is the country of Cezanne--whom Yannick thinks is the world's greatest painter. When a mysterious artist visits his uncle's inn, Yannick is convinced the mystery man is Cezanne. He decides to introduce himself to "Cezanne" and win a sketch from this person he thinks is his idol.

Review: This is a sweet story and all the illustrations are exquisite. There is also a sweet relationship between Yannick and his cousin Amandine. This book offers young readers an early introduction to good literature. I would recommend this book for grades 4 to 6.