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Product Type: Books
Award: Gold
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
The Other Side of Town
(by Jon Agee, Scholastic $17.95 Score:)

Take a zany cab ride to Schmeeker Street with a funny little guy in a goofy green suit. No, he does not mean Bleecker Street. He means Schmeeker, on the other side of town. And so it goes. The god natured cab driver plays straight man to the goofy guy’s directions and finds himself in an alternative world...where they have spotholes instead of potholes, a Finkon Tunnel instead of the Lincoln one and baseball is played by the Spankees not the Yankees. As always, Jon Agee comes up with a light romp that is carried by his cartoonish illustrations. Entertaining—but probably not more than once or twice.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad
(Henry Cole, Scholastic $16.95 Score:)

With sepia illustrations and no words, Henry Cole tells a moving story of a small girl who feeds a runaway slave who is hiding in the family's henhouse. When the Confederate soldiers come she is fearful but courageous. It's hard to know how young students are these days when they learn of the Civil War and the Underground Railway and will they still be looking at picture books at that stage. This is marked 4 & up, but clearly this is not a story for 4 year olds. That said, this is beautifully done and perhaps can be used to inspire older students to write their own stories too accompany Cole's charming illustrations.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket
(by John Boyne, ills. Oliver Jeffers, Knopf $19.99 Score:)

Born into a family of ordinary people, who liked being that way, young Barnaby Brocket came into the world anything but ordinary. Within moments of his birth he could float. In fact, he could not help floating. Unable to stop, as his parents felt he could if he tried, he is rejected at age eight and cast off into the vast blue sky over Sydney. In a journey that takes him round the word, Barnaby survives a series of adventures and discovers he is not unique in failing to fit his parent's expectations. By the time the story comes full circle Barnaby makes another discovery about himself and being "normal." Though many of the scenes are amusing, this is a bittersweet story with a very moralistic message. Marked for 8-12, one has to wonder if readers of 10-12 will stay with a book about an 8 year old and if younger readers of 8-9 will stay with or get the point of this rather long fantasy. That said, the opening pages are pure silk!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
All About Grandmas
(by Roni Schotter/ illus. Janice Nadeau, Dial $16.99 Score:)

Told in lyrical verse, this ode to grandmas takes a look at the diversity of grandmas in the world. Far from the old stereotypes, the artist and author remind us that they not only don’t all look alike, they all do different things, though they all have one thing in common--the love they have for their grandchildren. A keeper! 3 & up

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Camping: A Mr. and Mrs. Green Adventure
(by Keith Baker, Houghton Mifflin $12.95/4.99 Score:)

Beginning readers are apt to love this story as much as Mr. Green likes the cookies. Mrs. Green(an alligator) has left a note for her napping husband. He misreads the note by only seeing half of it and then decides to disregard the message. A light breezy read for beginners. Level 2.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Magic Tree House, Hour of the Olympics
(by Mary Pope Osborne, Random House $4.99 Score:)

No girls are allowed at the Olympics! That was the rule in ancient times and in this time travel book the rules apply....or do they. Another one of those suspenseful adventures for Jack and Annie. If your new to chapter book reader has not discovered this series, this is a good summer read that will give them a bit of history, a meeting with heroes and heroines of the Greek myths and perhaps a lively taste for time travel and more Magic Tree House mysteries.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympics
(by John Feinstein, Knopf $16.99 Score:)

Susan Carol not only wins her place on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team, she has become the "It Girl" of the London games with an agent cooking up deals that could make her family financially secure. Her father, a minister, falls into line with the demands of the agents, but Susan Carol is disappointed that he is pressing her to go along. Her long time friend Stevie Thomas is on her side and does some investigative reporting that adds to the suspense. Written by sportswriter, John Feinstein, this is a well-paced fictional account of what it’s like to be in Susan's place with so much pressure to swim and still keep one's head as she appears on the Today Show, Good Morning America, USA Today and she is drawn into the world of TV, sponsors, and marketing. Feinstein has peppered the script with fictional cameo appearances by familiar names like Michael Phelps, Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Bob Costas. He's also diced in some gossipy stories about other well known athletes who for better and worse, made deals for big bucks. A good read for the Summer Olympics 2012.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
A Passion for Victory
(by Bensom Bobrick, Knopf $19.99 Score:)

"I know if you were there in the stadium, you wouldn’t be able to stop applauding." Those words are from a second-century account of the Olympics. From the footraces of ancient Greece to the present, this well researched book chronicles the Olympic Games through history. Using direct quotes, photographs, etchings, sculpture, and anecdotes of previous games, this slim volume brings the history to life. 9-12.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
I Spy Under the Sea
(by Edward Gibbs, Candlewick $14.99 Score:)

With cut out openings that allow for previewing what comes next, this young science book introduces beginners to a number of sea creatures. It begins with seven clown fish and counts down to one shark. There is not a good reason for the creatures chosen, nor do the hints really define them in a unique way. That said, this is a simple counting book with an ocean setting. Edward Gibbs' underwater art fills the pages with active and attractive sea life on sturdy stock pages.  Preschoolers will like the peek-a-boo format that shows them part to whole images. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Peepsqueak!
(by Leslie Ann Clark, Harper $12.99 Score:)

A determined little chick pops out of its shell and wants to fly. Though all the animals try to tell him that he cannot do that, Peepsqueak keeps on trying. A small story for beginners with a repetitive line that preschoolers will love to chime in on. 2-5

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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