South Branch Staff Picks Category: Youth

The Princess and the Pony

the princess and the pony cover Are you a young princess with ambitions to become a fierce warrior? If so, you’re in for a treat because Kate Beaton has comically captured such a struggle in her children’s book The Princess and the PonyAdult readers may be familiar with Kate Beaton’s distinctly quirky drawing style and sense of humor from her webcomic series Hark! A Vagrant. Beaton adapted one of her original characters, a dumpy pony, to delight a younger audience as well.

Princess Pinecone is the protagonist of our story. She is the youngest warrior in a kingdom of warriors and is desperate to prove her fortitude in battle (though battling in Princess Pinecone’s kingdom seems to consist mostly of spitballs and general scuffles). All Princess Pinecone really needs to succeed in battle is a horse—one big, strong, and ready to charge! As her birthday approaches, the princess figures that this birthday will be the one where she finally gets a horse instead of yet another cozy sweater.

She thought wrong.

Instead of the stallion she so desires, Princess Pinecone receives a pony. Not just any pony—one decidedly stout, stumpy, and above all, adorable! How can Princess Pinecone strike fear in the hearts of the other warriors with such a pony? Still, the princess graciously accepts her gift (even though his eyes point in different directions!) and tries to make the best of the situation. Pinecone tries to train her pony for battle, but it proves difficult to try and turn a chubby pony into a fierce warhorse.

When the day of the battle finally arrives, Pinecone and her pony enter into battle– and surprise everyone with a secret weapon. Goofy illustrations will make younger readers giggle while adults will enjoy the nonsensical, deadpan humor.

If you liked The Princess and the Pony, look for Kate Beaton’s latest children’s book, King Baby!

Reviewed by: Anique A.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover cover imageThe Crossover by Kwame Alexander is a book popping up on a lot of different school summer reading lists. For some students, reading is the last thing they want to do when school is out. It can be hard to get your student to read when the nice weather is calling their name. We get it. However, if you’re given a choice on which books to read, this is a great one for students who don’t like to read.

This book is unlike any book I’ve read before. Written completely in verse, there are no more than 50 words on a page. So, just by looking at the pages it doesn’t seem all that bad. It’s a super quick read and the subject matter is very tangible and realistic.

We’re following a pair of twins who are obsessed with basketball, and sometimes girls. Sometimes things are great – you’re winning all your games and you’re getting A’s in all your classes. However, there’s always those times when you’re mom starts making weird dips trying to get you healthy, you’re fighting with a best friend, or your mind just isn’t in the game.

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy Kwame Alexander’s other book Booked, Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes, and Rocket Man by Jan Coates.

Written by: Megan Y.

Spare Parts (DVD)

Cover of DVD: Spare PartsCalling all teachers, outreach personal, social workers, counselors, and just about anyone who wants to feel inspired. This must-watch movie focuses on four Hispanic boys (based on a true story) with different challenges in their lives that find that innate desire to succeed. All they needed was the push from one teacher that saw their abilities and holds them to nothing more than the highest standards. George Lopez acting as Dr. Fredi Cameron is a substitute teacher that through the mist of his own personal problems finds a way to connect with these four high school students and pushes them to compete amongst the elite colleges in the United States in a robotics competition. The journey to this competition is a success on its own, whether or not they win or come in last I will leave for you to find out.

Review by Maria R.

 

 

Other titles you may enjoy:

DVD cover: McFarland USADVD cover: Million Dollar Arm

Stink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers by Megan McDonald

Stink and the World's Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers

Stink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers

Did you know there is an exhibit at the science museum called Everybody Stinks? Well there is, and according to Stink Moody, it is amazing! Meet Stink, a second grader and the shortest kid in his class at 3 feet 8 inches tall. During Stinks visit to the museum, he not only discovers incredible facts on smell but learns there is a stinky sneaker contest. With his nose, stink knows he has a chance to win. How you ask? Stink can smell a corpse flower a mile away – gross! Want to know if Stink wins the Golden Clothespin Award? Read Stink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers as Stink and his fellow classmate Sophie of the Elves challenge each other to see who has the best sniffer.

You may also like: Horrible Harry in room 2B by Kline, Suzy; I even funnier by Patterson, James; Mr. Klutz is nuts! by Gutman, Dan

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s

Counting by 7s

Willow Chance is not your normal everyday 12-year old girl. She a young genius that is obsessed about counting by 7’s, passionate about all medical conditions, and is a strict vegetarian.  But after moving to a new school, Willow is immediately seen as an outcast after being accused of cheating on a test.  To fix the problem, the school district has Willow see Dell Duke, the schools counselor who has issues of his own.  Though she is an outsider at school, Willow loves who she was and loves her life until the day she discovers her parents have been involved in a tragic accident.  Until now, Willow did not need to adjust the outside world but now is forced to adapt.  Her new friend, Mai Nguyen convinces her mom to take Willow in as a temporary guardian which sparks the future for Willow. Counting by 7s is a heartbreaking story that follows Willow Chance through her personal stages of loss, grief, and happiness.

 
You may also like: Wonder by R.J. Palacio; Out of My Mind by Draper, Sharon; Mockingbird by Erskine, Kathryn

Museum of Thieves

Museum of Thieves

Museum of Thieves

In the city of Jewel, children are escorted by a silver guardchain from the moment they learn how to walk, and are attached securely to their beds at night–how else could the city keep its precious children safe?  But Goldie Roth is tired of living chained to her parents, and when Separation Day is abruptly cancelled, she runs away! Now free to roam the city, but with nowhere to go, Goldie discovers Jewel’s most ancient secret: the Museum of Dunt. As she learns about the darker sides of her city, she will need all of her boldness to protect that secret, and the lives of everyone in Jewel.

This is the first installment in a fantastical, dystopian tale for a younger crowd!
If you like books like this, check out these: Inkheart by Funke, C. and The Sixty-eight Rooms by Malone, M.
by Allison S.

Todos nacemos libres

TODOS NACEMOS LIBRES : la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos ilustrada

Este libro contiene los 30 artículos de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos, ilustrados por diferentes artistas reconocidos mundialmente.

Los artículos están mencionados de una manera sencilla y cada uno teniendo su propia ilustración que permite describirlo con bellas imagenes.

Si te gusto Todos nacemos libres, puedes leer: Tengo derecho a ser niño o La carta de derechos

 

Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone

Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

There are some characters from books that leap off the page and into your heart, and somehow you know they’re going to stay long after you’ve finished reading. The Mighty Miss Deza Malone is one of these.  Deza Malone is twelve years old and living with her family in Gary, Indiana in 1936.  She observes the devastation of the Great Depression with wit, humor, and unquenchable curiosity.  Already a ravenous reader and enthusiastic essay-writer, her parents and teachers have told her that she is meant for a special path in life. As the Great Depression takes its toll, Deza’s father leaves Gary to find work.  Before long Deza, her brother Jimmie, and their mother follow him, riding on trains and hiking north to Michigan.  But when they can’t find him, Jimmie too leaves to find work.   Facing one challenge after another, you see that it’s not just her intelligence that makes her such a special girl, but her courage as well. Deza never stops believing in her family’s motto: “We are a family on a journey to a place called Wonderful.”

 

By Allison S.

The Fantasia Anthology

The Fantasia anthology

The Fantasia Anthology

Revisit Disney’s 1940 animated film Fantasia featuring music performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra. Enjoy Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and other classic animated shorts set to pieces of classical music including those of Bach and Stravinsky. Included in this 2 disc set is Fantasia 2000, which includes music of Gershwin and Beethoven.

You may also like: The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins