The Rationale: Some New Books and Why I Bought Them
I bought some books for my school library recently – let’s talk about them.
Minecraft: Combat Handbook
There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING hotter than Minecraft in my school library. We would get daily requests for Minecraft books until this series came to save the day. This is the third book in the series and a must-have. Keep em’ coming, Scholastic, keep ’em coming.
Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 by Dav Pilkey
He was relatively quiet there for a while, but the last two years have proven prolific for elementary school hero Dav Pilkey. I bought multiple copies of his latest (the eleventh book in the series), which features, for my money, the most jaw-dropping scene yet – think teachers in underpants.
Side note! Pilkey’s biography cover photo is better than your biography cover photo:
Stick Dog Chases a Pizza by Tom Watson
Stick Dog was popular in my library before Tom Watson visited. After he visited it went off the charts. This illustrated novel series brings a level of silliness that has proven to appeal to a large audience at my school.
Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown
I came to this series skeptical and lo and behold found myself completely impressed with the first book. It was great. I’m excited to see the next book in the series arrived recently.
The Kicks: Sabotage Season by Alex Morgan
I know what you’re thinking – books written by athletes: dangerous territory. But I was realizing that while we have plenty of sports books about boys, we have far fewer with girl characters. On a lark I added the first book in this series to the collection last year and it circulated like crazy, so it seemed like time to expand a bit. And the eye-catching cover certainly won’t hurt.
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
I continue to kick myself that I haven’t read this yet – seriously, what’s my problem? It’s a situation I will soon rectify. I’ve heard nothing but praise for this book, which has received four starred reviews at this point.
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
I recently finished this book and hope to give it a proper review here soon. Long story short – I really liked it. It’s sweet, funny, with just the right amount of quirk. The time travel element also provides a great book talk hook.
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L. Pichon
Some are calling this the Wimpy Kid of the U.K. I can tell you the humor and heavily doodle-illustrated format is going to be a hit with the readers at my school.
Side Note! This book won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2011.
The Odd One Out by Britta Teckentrup
This is from Big Picture Press, that newish imprint over at Candlewick. Each spread has a poem that goes along with an animal-themed “one of these is not like the others”. I think it looks awesome, but I’m interested to see the shelf appeal – I worry about how retro-inspired art will go over with kids.
Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus; illustrated by Evan Turk
This is such a unique book. The art and story is really unlike anything else. A Fuse #8 Production included it in her Caldecott predictions and I completely agree.
Pokemon Visual Companion
I love the explosion of the visual handbook in the last few years. Kids are eating them up. This is one of those books that is just never going to be on the shelf.
Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
It’s happened a couple times this summer – I read a picture book and get excited to share it with students once school starts back up. I thought that when I read Mac Barnett’s latest with Jen Corace, Telephone, and I thought that while reading Hug Machine. Should be a crowd-pleaser.
Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Boarder
Speaking of crowd-pleasing, you don’t get much more high appeal than this book. The photographic illustrations are fantastic. Kids will be lining up to check this book out.
The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett
A sequel that completely lives up to the original, The Boy and the Airplane (which I loved).
Five Trucks by Brian Floca
This book is actually not new – it was originally published by DK in 1999. I’m happy to see that Atheneum brought it back. It sheds some light on lesser known airplane runway vehicles and features a very simple text perfect for emerging readers.
Side Note! Here’s the original cover for this book:
Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall
Everybody will pick a side here. I wrote about how we live in the age of “versus” picture books and this one will please a lot of readers with its humor and unexpected twist.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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