Last month Yamada published, What Do You Do With a Problem, and it is as wonderful as the first book. This is the story about experiencing a problem and how it grows bigger and stronger until it becomes completely overwhelming bringing feelings of no escape. Then, like in Yamada's first book, the story shifts and the boy faces the problem and finds that he has been given an opportunity- a chance to be brave and face the dilemma and find a solution. I think it's an uplifting book that will help many children who feel like their problems, big and small, will swallow them whole. This story will be useful for many young students.
Unfortunately, I read a review of this book from School Library Journal calling it simplistic and heartless as some problems are too tragic to be solved on one's own. This review REALLY annoyed me. It's a sweet, simple book designed to teach courage and hope. Yes, if a child is suffering horrific abuse or lives in a war zone (as the review stated), this book most likely won't fix their problem, but give me a break. Why does everything have to be a politically correct guide to life? Calling a picture book designed to help children "heartless" is probably the most ridiculous review I've ever read. I will FOR SURE put this one on my library shelves because I find it valuable just the way it is!
I was thrilled when I read this book because I think I just found a new favorite series for my elementary school students (especially the boys). The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett is a series I've been looking for to fulfill the wish list of my youngest reluctant readers.
Miles Murphy has a very special talent- he is a prankster and a very famous one in his home town. Now, after having to move to a new city over the summer, Miles is a bit lost. His new school, in the cow capital of the world, already has a class prankster, and he seems to be even more successful than Miles ever was. Is the school big enough for TWO ingenious prank players? As one can gather from the title, when the two join forces their pranks have the potential to become epic.
O.K., so this isn't The Lightning Thief, or City of Ember or even an Alex Rider adventure, but it's funny and cute and it kept my own little reluctant reader laughing until the very end. Sometimes a book is perfect if it can be simply light and entertaining. They don't all have to be Lord of The Rings.
I picked this book just from the cover, barely skimming the description. Looking at Finley Flowers New and Improved by Jessica Young, I saw what was supposed to be a 4th grade girl on the cover dressed in "inventor" clothes. I scooped it up thinking it would be perfect for budding female engineers in this age range. I assumed she was an inventor extraordinaire, and I had FINALLY found a book with a strong female scientist and a cute name. Well I should have know better than to assume. I was, however, actually half right. This is an adorable new series for girls, but outside of this book, Finley isn't especially focused on S.T.E.M. Also, even though she is supposed to be in fourth grade, I think this series would be better suited for 8-9 year old girls. That being said, Finley is a great character! She is funny, bright, and determined. She's also a great friend. This book focuses on her school's invention convention and Finley's struggle to make the perfect contraption to win the fair. It was really endearing.
Looking at the other books in the series, I think Finley Flowers books are a great choice for 2nd grade and up.