Carl Hiaasen (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Animals, Environmental Protection, School life
"Hoot" by Carl Hiaasen is a Newbery Honor award-winning realistic fiction book for young adults. The main character of "Hoot" is Roy Eberhardt, a middle school student who has just moved to Florida from Montana. Being a new kid on the block, Roy becomes a victim of a school bully named Dana Matherson. While riding on the school bus, Roy spots a kid running barefoot and carrying no books. Later on, Roy makes friends with the homeless boy nicknamed Mullet Fingers, who is on an ecological mission to protect rare and endangered burrowing owls at the future construction site of Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House. With the aid of Mullet Fingers' stepsister Beatrice, Roy outwits the bully, helps the boy save the owls and warms up to life in Florida. Also featured in Hoot are a few adult characters, such as the construction foreman Leroy "Curly" Branitt and the ambitious police officer Delinko, who are both up in arms against the pranks. While sending a message about environmental protection, "Hoot" is an interesting and entertaining story to read. "Hoot" is a good book for teens in 7th grade and up.
Erica Silverman, S.D. Schindler (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Witches, Halloween, Pumpkin
"Big Pumpkin" by Erica Silverman is a funny Halloween story that will delight children in preschool, kindergarten and first grade. A witch wants to make pumpkin pie, so she plants a pumpkin seed. The pumpkin grows so big that the witch cannot yank it from the vine. Some traditional Halloween characters come to help, but neither the ghost, nor the vampire, nor the mummy can make it budge. Finally a bat comes up with a good idea. They line up and pull together. Off comes the big pumpkin. The colorful illustrations by S.D. Schindler is a little spooky but not scary. With predictable rhyming texts, the picture book is good for reading aloud. Kids can also see the value of cooperation and teamwork.
Dan Yaccarino (Board Books)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Halloween, Pumpkin
"Five Little Pumpkins", illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, is a good Halloween board book for toddlers. Five little jack-o-lanterns are sitting on a gate and watching the witches and ghost flying by in the sky. Finally the little pumpkins have enough of Halloween fun and roll out of sight. Each of the five little pumpkins has a different expression, and the ghost is cute and not at all scary. Dan Yaccarino's bold and expressive illustrations do a good job catching the spirit of this popular fingerplay.
Eric Carle (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Theme: Nature
Eric Carle is a favorite author and illustrator among young children. "Draw Me a Star" is a good children's picture book for preschoolers, kindergarteners and first graders. An artist first draws a star, then a sun, then a tree, and so on. As with Eric Carle's other picture books, the colors are bright, bold and strong. The paperback book also tells children how to draw a star.
Anne Rockwell, Holly Keller (Hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Animals, Growing Up, Nature
"Growing Like Me" by Anne Rockwell and Holly Keller, tells about how animals and plants grow in nature. Anne Rockwell's texts are short and informative. Holly Keller's pictures are bright and uncluttered. "Growing Like Me" is a good picture book for toddlers and preschoolers to read.