Wonderful children’s author David Lubar has two new collections of short stories, “Teeny Weenies: The Intergalactic Petting Zoo” and “Teeny Weenies: Freestyle Frenzy.” Kids love the original Weenie series like “Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies,” which are perfect for older middle grade readers. In this new “Teeny Weenie” series, the stories are great for younger kids in first grade and higher. The stories are a bit shorter and simpler to follow, yet still filled with Lubar’s clever wit and bizarre imagination.
“Under the Table” by Stephanie Evanovich is first and foremost a romance. But there’s much more to this novel that by turn enchants, infuriates, and charms the reader. Zoey leaves an abusive husband to flee to New York City and live with her sister, Ruth. Ruth grinds out a 9 to 5 job during the week and lives to have fun on weekends. That’s not quite Zoey’s style. She’s left her deadbeat husband for a year trial separation, and she’s working hard on weekends to build up her fledgling catering business.
Andrew Clements is the king of middle grade novels centering around school and relationships. “The Friendship War” continues his long and prolific string of books about elementary school relationships that explore how children relate, how they form friendships, and how the school environment can influence those life experiences.
“Swimming for Sunlight” by Allie Larkin has it all — but mostly it has a main character who has experienced it all, and in her case that’s not a good thing. Katie has experienced much loss. Her father died when she was young. Even worse was how it happened; he died when he was swimming with her to the dock by their lake home, and Katie tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him. After her father was gone, her mother relinquished all motherly duties to Katie’s grandmother and eventually just left. Katie was raised by her grandmother, Nan, in Florida.
“How Many: A Counting Book” by Christopher Danielson is a very simple yet brilliantly composed book of pictures about counting. There are no right answers, and Danielson states at the start of the book:
“This is a book about numbers and counting, but it’s different from other counting books. This book doesn’t tell you what to count. It doesn’t start with small numbers and end with big ones.”
“When We Left Cuba” by Chanel Cleeton is the gripping story of Beatriz Perez, daughter to a sugar baron in Cuba whose family fled when Castro’s army took over the island paradise. Living a grand but reduced lifestyle in Palm Beach, Beatriz’ mother is constantly scheming for her daughters to marry well and restore the family name and fortune.
But Beatriz has other ideas. Her twin brother was killed during the Revolution, and she is determined to get revenge. She hates Castro passionately and abhors the idea that she will follow her mother’s wishes — marry, have children, and never live life fully. She wants to take a different path. Continue reading
“The Better Sister” by Alafair Burke is the story of two sisters; one is — to all appearances — perfect. Chloe might be the younger sister, but she has achieved what few do, fame, wealth, a very important job, accolades, and even the perfect husband and son. In reality, the son is her nephew and her husband is her sister’s ex-husband.
Her sister, Nicky, is the screw-up. Nicky never went to college, partied too much, worked low paying jobs, lost low paying jobs, and eventually lost custody of her son. Years later, Chloe and Adam married, raising Ethan as their son. But lately, things in Chloe’s life are not going so perfectly.
“The Strangers: Greystone Secrets” is the first book in this new series by bestselling children’s author Margaret Peterson Haddix. Haddix is no stranger to writing children’s series that are thrilling and that kids love to read including “The Missing” and “Shadow Children.” This series promises to be just as exciting and addicting as those.
With “High Five,” Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri have created a picture book that enchants and excites kids of all ages. I know, because in my own experience, this colorful and action-filled book has been a hit with kids from three years old through 5th grade.
What happens when a shelter allows a dog to suffer in agony for days before the staff veterinarian bothers to check on the dog, then finding that his intestines had perforated, and he had to be euthanized? What happens when after surgery, another dog is allowed to bleed to death, found two days later dead in her kennel? If the shelter is in Tampa, Florida, namely the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center (PRC), and the director is Scott Trebatoski, nothing happens. And according to the latest Target 8 report by Steve Andrews, “Shelter woes blamed on county commissioners’ refusal to listen,” the county board doesn’t care, either.
“Operation Frog Effect” by Sarah Scheerger will excite its readers. In this book, students must learn to work together. That is their challenge. The book has a great lesson, and it shows what could happen when students get carried away with good intentions but disastrous results. Though the students in the classroom may have their differences, they can all agree on one thing — they want their teacher back..
“They All Fall Down” by Rachel Howzell Hall keeps some secrets closely hidden, while others — like the title — are out there for everyone to see. And when Miriam Macy sails to the luxurious mansion on Mictlan, an isolated island in Mexico, she keeps her secrets hidden almost to the end. But what about the other six people on the island? And what about the fact that the pretense for luring her to the island was just that, a pretense?