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Books Inc. Kids Review - I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, Shelagh McNicholas (Illustrator)
Publication Date: September  4th, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Picture Book - Special Issues
Ages: 4-8

The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere
"This is an essential tool for parents and teachers to share with children whether those kids identify as trans or not. I wish I had had a book like this when I was a kid struggling with gender identity questions. I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty."--Laverne Cox (who plays Sophia in "Orange Is the New Black")
From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz is what all "special issues" books should be. Clear and straightforward yet breezy and fun, this book tells the story of a transgender child. Jazz is a girl caught in a boy's body and she tells her story without preaching. Her friends and family love her but think she should dress as a boy when she's in public. With the help of a good doctor, her parents begin to understand and even her school lets her play on the girls futbol team. The illustrations by Shelagh McNichols are pink and pretty and perfect for this story.
It will be tough on Jazz as she gets older but, for now, she is a healthy and happy little girl.
Reviewed by Elizabeth from Books Inc. Alameda

Current Obsession - Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones


Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones
Expected Publication Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 224 pages

Fans of Polly Horvath or Roald Dahl will love this quirky story of a determined girl, and some extraordinary chickens.
Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown feels like a fish out of water when she and her parents move from Los Angeles to the farm they've inherited from a great-uncle. But farm life gets more interesting when a cranky chicken appears and Sophie discovers the hen can move objects with the power of her little chicken brain: jam jars, the latch to her henhouse, the "entire" henhouse....
And then more of her great-uncle's unusual chickens come home to roost. Determined, resourceful Sophie learns to care for her flock, earning money for chicken feed, collecting eggs. But when a respected local farmer tries to steal them, Sophie must find a way to keep them (and their superpowers) safe.
Told in letters to Sophie's "abuela, " quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more, "Unusual Chickens" is a quirky, clucky classic in the making.

Highly Anticipating - Sea Rex by Molly Idle & Unicorn on a Roll by Dana Simpson

Sea Rex by Molly Idle
Expected Publication Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 40 pages
Ages: 3-6

What could that be

down in the sea?

Is it a fish?

A snail?

A mermaid's tail?

No, it's bigger than that . . .

a LOT bigger . . .

it's Sea Rex


Join Cordelia and her crestacious companions as they spend a memorable day at the beach, as only dinosaurs can do

Why we can't wait: We LOVE Molly's books at Books Inc. and this is going to be THE PERFECT book for summer vacation!

Unicorn on a Roll: Another Phoeve and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson
Expected Publication Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Page Count: 224 pages
Ages: 8-12

The magical friendship of Phoebe and her best friend, unicorn Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, is back in this second adventure of a girl and her mythical creature
One year has passed since Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond, accidentally hit a unicorn in the face, and was granted a single wish--which she used to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. In some ways, not much has changed. At school Phoebe still clashes with her rival--and sometimes "frenemy"--the ever-taunting and imperious Dakota. Outside of school, she still fills her free time with extra-credit homework assignments, dramatic monologues about the injustices associated with school cliques, and imaginative conspiracy theories regarding global forces like the "powerful construction paper lobby." But unlike before, Phoebe now has a best friend to share it with--someone to make her laugh and to listen to all her extravagant ideas.
In this second volume of "Heavenly Nostrils," titled, "Unicorn on a Roll," the reader is invited on a journey into the lives of Phoebe and Marigold as they navigate the difficulties of grade school, celebrate the winter holidays, and explore their super hero/super villain personas together. Join in the fun, as Phoebe competes against Dakota for the leading role of "Lisa Ladybug" in their fourth-grade play--or as she struggles to "manage" the PR debacle related to her nose-picking-scandal. ("I will neither confirm nor deny the events surrounding Boogergate.") Witness a band of unicorns staging an "intervention" and learn all the details of Marigold's secret crush on a mysterious creature she has never seen. Perhaps most important, watch as this surprising friendship between a charming, nine-year-old dreamer and a vain, mythical beast forever changes both of them for the better.

Why we can't wait: Yes, Phoebe and Her Unicorn was probably one of our favorite books last year and WE CAN'T WAIT for more Marigold Heavenly Nostrils! Cay you?!

Books Inc. Kids Review - Mustache Baby Meets His Match by Bridget Heos

Mustache Baby Meets His Match by Bridget Heos, illustrated by Joy Ang
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre: Picture Book - Humor
Ages: 4-8

When Baby Javier comes for a playdate, Baby Billy, a.k.a. Mustache Baby, feels the need to show him a thing or two, seeing how Javier's new to town--and also sports an impressive beard. What ensues is a hilarious test of wills and facial hair, as each baby sets out to prove his manliness. It seems Mustache Baby may have truly met his match . . . but one-upmanship isn't the point of a playdate, is it?

Mustache Baby was a huge hit with all Books Inc. staffers and this adorable sequel is no different! Baby Billy meets his match when Javier (who's given a brief intro in Mustache Baby) shows up! Billy wants Javier to be his sidekick, but it seems like Javier bests Billy in every activity! From wrestling, to painting, to running for president, Javier does it better! And that really chaps Billy's hide! Watch Mustache Baby and Beard Baby face off in this hilarious sequel, you won't be disappointed!
Reviewed by Anna, Not Your Mother's Book Club Coordinator

Top Ten Books of April 2015

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?
Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare.
In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children's literature. (Ages 4-8)
Available April 7th

 

 

 

From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations. Here's a list of things Pip Bartlett can talk to:
Unicorns
Miniature Silky Griffins
Bitterflunks
Basically, all magical creatures
Here's a list of things she can't talk to (at least, not very well):
Parents
Teachers
Basically, all people
Because of a Unicorn Incident at her school (it was an accident ), Pip is spending the summer with her Aunt Emma at the Cloverton Clinic for Magical Creatures. At first, it's all fun, games, and chatting with Hobgrackles, but when Fuzzles appear and start bursting into flame at the worst possible places, Pip and her new friend Tomas must take action. Because if the mystery of the Fuzzles isn't solved soon, both magical and unmagical creatures are going to be in a lot of trouble. (Ages 8-11)
Available April 28th
 

A sinister threat. A city in danger. A boy with the power to command the crows. Ferals is the first book in a dark, action-packed trilogy that's part The Graveyard Book, part Batman, and all high-octane adventure.

Blackstone was once a thriving metropolis. But that was before the Dark Summer--a wave of violence and crime that swept through the city eight years ago, orchestrated by the fearsome Spinning Man. Now the Spinning Man is on the move again, and a boy named Caw is about to be caught in his web.

Caw has never questioned his ability to communicate with crows. But as the threat of a new Dark Summer looms, Caw discovers the underground world of Blackstone's ferals--those with the power to speak to and control animals. Caw is one of them. And to save his city, he must quickly master abilities he never knew he had...and prepare to defeat a darkness he never could have imagined. (Ages 8-12)
Available April 28th


 

Meet Rappy the Raptor, a velociraptor who speaks in rhymes all of the time, whether it's morning or noon, October or June. Now, how did it happen that he started rappin'? Well, here's Rappy's story in all its glory

New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman and New York Times bestselling artist Tim Bowers team up for a funny, warm story that is sure to have readers snapping their fingers and tapping their toes Parents and kids alike will love bopping along as Rappy learns to embrace his unusual way of speaking in this upbeat picture book with a dino-size beat. (Ages 4-8)
Available April 28th

 

 

 

Discover a new middle grade series full of madcap adventure, mythological creatures, humor, and heart. The world's unlikeliest hero is also its only hope in this spirited tween fantasy debut, perfect for fans of How to Train Your Dragon and The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.

For generations, Finn's family has protected Darkmouth from the fierce magical creatures known as Legends. Now the Legends are plotting a major attack, and it's Finn's turn to defend his hometown. So it's too bad he's the worst Legend Hunter in history. (Ages 8-12)
Available April 21st

 


 

In the peaceful realm of Tequende, all second-born children at the age of fifteen must journey to the Alcazar to fulfill the mandate of the Oath of Guilds. There they train to earn a place among the queen's legendary Second Guard, or work as indentured servants.
Talimendra has always wanted to join the Guard, but there are dark rumors in the queendom that she may not be ready for. Rumors that whisper of greed, traitors, and war.
There is very little time and too many unanswered questions, but one thing is for certain: if there is a traitor among the Second Guard, then everyone-including the queen-is in grave danger. (Ages 10-13)
Available April 14th

 

 

 

When a skunk first appears in the tuxedoed man's doorway, it's a strange but possibly harmless occurrence. But then the man finds the skunk following him, and the unlikely pair embark on an increasingly frantic chase through the city, from the streets to the opera house to the fairground. What does the skunk want? It's not clear--but soon the man has bought a new house in a new neighborhood to escape the little creature's attention, only to find himself missing something. . .

This slyly hilarious tale brings together picture book talents Mac Barnett and Patrick McDonnell for the first time. (Ages 4-7)
Available April 14th

 


 

From the creator of Dragonbreath comes a tale of witches, minions, and one fantastic castle, just right for fans of Roald Dahl and Tom Angleberger.
When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked REALLY wicked ) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is.
This quirky, richly illustrated novel is filled with humor, magic, and an unforgettable all-star cast of castle characters. (Ages 8-12)
Available April 21st

 



The Newbery Honor author of Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine, weaves a thrilling tale of mystery in this companion to A Tale of Two Castles.

Elodie, the dragon detective Meenore, and the kindly ogre Count Jonty Um are all on their way to Elodie's home island of Lahnt. Elodie has barely set foot on land before she learns that the Replica, a statue that keeps her island's deadly volcano from erupting, has been stolen If the Replica isn't found in three days, a mountain will be destroyed. And when Elodie ends up alone with a cast of characters each of whom may be guilty, she has to use her wits to try to unravel a tangled web of lies.

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carson Levine has written an imaginative, fast-paced mystery that will be enjoyed by fans of A Tale of Two Castles as well as those meeting Elodie, Meenore, and Count Jonty Um for the first time. (Ages 8-12)
Available April 21st
 


Stuart Gibbs is the author of "Belly Up", Poached", "Spy School", "Spy Camp", Evil Spy School", and Space Case." He has also written the screenplays for movies like See Spot Run "and Repli-Kate", worked on a whole bunch of animated films, developed TV shows for Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC, and Fox, and researched capybaras (the world's largest rodents.). He lives with his wife and children in Los Angeles. (Ages8-12)
Available April 21st

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