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Featured Book Lists
Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The hour of peril : the secret plot to murder Lincoln before the Civil War
by Daniel Stashower

Book list *Starred Review* Some of President Lincoln's associates and some historians have questioned if the supposed conspiracy to assassinate him upon his arrival in Baltimore was serious. Stashower has no doubt that the plot was real, and he has written a convincing and well-researched chronicle of it and the successful effort to thwart it. His story has the necessary elements of a successful historical thriller, including a determined assassin; a wily, intrepid detective; a serpentine plot; and, in Lincoln, an important and sympathetic potential victim. Stashower seems determined to lay out the painstaking details of the plot; although it provides credibility, it sometimes acts as a drag on the narrative. Still, the stakes are high, so the story has a built-in urgency and excitement. The detective, the soon-to-be-famous Allan Pinkerton, is a relentless and clever sleuth, and the chief conspirator, a Baltimore barber named Ferrandini, is a formidable adversary. Despite some slow moments, the book generally succeeds as both a historical inquiry and a detective story.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly John Wilkes Booth succeeded in 1865, but the first major plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln unfolded in 1861 in anticipation of the then president-elect's railway trip to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) explains how Allan Pinkerton, a temperamental Scottish cooper turned "fierce and incorruptible lawman" and founder of the Pinkerton Agency, sought to infiltrate and obfuscate a murderous group led by Cypriano Ferrandini, an outspoken Italian barber in Baltimore. Interwoven with the tale of Pinkerton and company's efforts to foil what would become known as the Baltimore Plot, Stashower offers a rich portrait of a resolute but weary Lincoln as he makes his way, both politically and physically, to the White House. As everyone knows, he arrived without incident, but while he saved his skin, he lost some respect for stealing into the capital "like a thief in the night," as one newspaper put it. The book starts out slow, but once Stashower lets the Pinkerton operatives loose, their race against time as Lincoln's train speeds toward Maryland makes for an enthralling page-turner that is sure to please true crime, thriller, and history fans. Photos. (Feb.). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal The first known attempt to murder Abraham Lincoln occurred in February 1861 during his railway journey from Springfield, IL, to Washington, DC, for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) details how Allan Pinkerton, head of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, managed to stop a band of rebels bent on killing the president-elect in Baltimore. Stashower describes a campaign-weary, nonchalant, and somewhat incautious Abraham Lincoln, traveling east toward the presidency. The author records him arriving safely in DC after stealing through Maryland's darkened countryside and Baltimore's precincts as "a thief in the night"-at Pinkerton's behest, but in the process forfeiting a measure of political stature to his detractors, who questioned his courage and fitness for office. The tale builds methodically before shifting into dramatic mode as Pinkerton, in fewer than two weeks, uncovers and quashes the would-be assassins' designs, assisted by agent Kate Warne, the leader of Pinkerton's female undercover unit. VERDICT Stashower's character-driven narrative and lively writing style reveal the finely honed skills of an accomplished mystery writer. Recommended.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The story of Owen : dragon slayer of Trondheim
by E K Johnston

Book list *Starred Review* When Owen's legendary dragon-slayer aunt is too injured to continue her vocation, she starts teaching him the ways of the family business. And when Owen meets Siobhan, their friendship becomes part of an epic saga, as Siobhan turns into Owen's bard and tells the tale of his adventures to help him change the future of dragon slaying forever. Johnston's masterful book is a refreshing blend of alternative history, high fantasy, and contemporary teen life. Johnston has done careful research for her intricate world building, and the result is strikingly original and believable. Elements from our world are delicately shaped to fit this alternative, such as the Romans taking dragon slayers from their hometowns and conscripting them into service for the state. Even less illustrious historical elements the songs of Gordon Lightfoot, for example are now dragon related. But for all the emphasis on her world, Johnston does not neglect the depth of her characters: Owen and Siobhan's friendship is a beautiful, solid thing, and the authenticity of their relationship goes a long way to making this strange world more familiar. Siobhan's narration, in particular, perfectly blends her dry humor with her musical talent. Johnston, like Siobhan, knows how to spin a tale.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Siobhan is a typical teenager. Her hobbies include composing music, hanging out with friends, and driving her first car. Her biggest conflict is whether or not to tell her parents that she would rather pursue music than go to a university. All of that changes when she meets Owen Thorskard, currently failing algebra and potentially the nation's next great dragon slayer. Owen, nephew of famous Slayer Lottie Thorskard, goes to high school by day and trains to protect the rural town of Trondheim by night. The two teens become friends when it becomes painfully evident that Owen needs a math tutor. Little does Siobhan know that she's signing up for a lot more than tutoring. Soon she finds herself working as Owen's personal Bard. While he slays, she documents; together they work to show the country that dragon slayers are needed in more than just the big cities. Johnston seamlessly blends fantasy with realistic fiction; readers will have a hard time remembering that dragons aren't an everyday aspect of life. Suggest this title to reluctant readers as the fast-paced plot and witty dialogue will keep them turning pages until the tale's exciting conclusion. A great addition for any library with a strong fantasy following.-Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Debut novelist Johnston envisions an Earth nearly identical to our own, with one key difference: dragons, whose attraction to carbon emissions-whether from campfires or cars-makes them a persistent threat. Everything from pop music to industry, literature, and the historical record has been influenced. The Sahara desert has its roots in a botched dragon slaying after Rome conquered Carthage; centuries later, the logo for the Detroit Red Wings symbolizes the loss of an entire state: "the wheel, for the car that had brought Michigan up, and the wing, for the dragons that had brought it down." After 16-year-old Siobhan McQuaid agrees to become the bard for dragon-slayer-in-training Owen Thorskard, who has moved with his famous dragon-slaying family to her small Ontario town, she winds up at the center of a grassroots effort to understand an odd spike in dragon numbers. Siobhan's narration sings thanks to her dry wit, intelligence, and ability to see the inherent musicality of life, while also commenting on the unreliability of history (and storytelling) and the power of a community to rally to save itself. Ages 11-up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Coyote Moon
by Maria Gianferrari

Book list This striking book celebrates the life of coyotes without dismissing their predatory nature. The coyote on the front cover is on the hunt, while the back cover shows an attentive young pup. Inside, Gianferrari's well-balanced text describes both the coyote's search for prey and her vulnerability: targets escape, angry geese retaliate, pups are easy prey for hawks. Although endnotes provide more information, the text and illustrations subtly provide many facts as well, showing coyotes' opportunism regarding diet and their amazing athletic abilities (in one close-up spread, the coyote almost leaps from the page in a giant pounce). Because this hunt begins at night, Ibatoulline's palette is dark. He adds mystery by including spreads full of bushes and shadows, but the coyote's eyes are always bright, popping from the dim background. Though many pages show her fierceness, there is a quiet satisfaction when the hunt is done. With sunlight and success comes a celebratory song and a child witness, warmth in text and illustrations.--Ching, Edie Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-A captivating and atmospheric title about a mother coyote on the hunt through a suburban landscape. Readers join the coyote as she leaves her pups in the den and travels through a neighborhood, a golf course, and a lakeside-all in pursuit of a mouse, a flock of geese, a rabbit, and, finally, one unfortunate turkey. The text is spare, with a focus on the coyote's movement and use of her senses: she listens to the scratching of the mouse, sniffs the air and smells the geese, lunges, slinks, pounces, and much more. With the arrival of the sun and the success of her hunt, the coyote lets out a celebratory "Yeeeep-yip-yip-yoooo" before heading back to feed and snuggle with her young. Readers looking for straightforward facts won't find them within the text; the dynamic and richly detailed illustrations are what tell the story here. Ibatoulline uses color, shadow, and dramatic angles to portray the coyote's athleticism, her hunting style, the flight response of her prey, and the passage of time (the narrative begins at night and ends with dawn). Back matter expands on the coyote's origin in the United States and its habitat, territory, diet, physical abilities, communication, and family structure. VERDICT Simple text and remarkable artwork make this a great selection for read-alouds and parent-child bonding.-Kelly Topita, Anne Arundel County Public Library, MD © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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British Crime Writers' Assoc.
Click to search this book in our catalog Camille:
by Pierre Lemaitre

Book list The final book in the Commandant Camille Verhoeven trilogy finds the diminutive French policeman moving on with his life, four years after tragic events detailed in Irčne (2014). He is now dating Anne Forestier, a woman who has the misfortune of being the only person alive who saw the face of a violent jewelry-store robber. Surviving a beating that might have left her dead, Anne is a loose end that the robber can't leave untied, and Verhoeven is equally determined not to watch another woman in his life die. Failing to disclose that he has a personal relationship with the victim is only one of the rules he breaks while tracking Anne's attacker. But while trying to protect Anne, Verhoeven uncovers several inconsistencies in both the details of her attack and in what she has told him about herself. Who is the real target here? Verhoeven remains a laser-focused detective who is relentless in doing whatever it takes to impose just a sliver of justice in a consistently unjust world. A bittersweet conclusion to this ferociously intense series.--Keefe, Karen Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog A Ball for Daisy
by Chris Raschka

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Ever the minimalist, Raschka continues to experiment with what is essential to express the daily joys and tribulations of humans and animals. This wordless story features Daisy, a dog. The motion lines framing her tail on the first page indicate that a big red ball is her chief source of delight. Ever-changing, curvy gray brushstrokes, assisted by washes of watercolor, define her body and mood. Blue and yellow surround her ecstatic prance to the park with toy and owner. The story's climax involves another dog joining the game, but chomping too hard, deflating the beloved ball. A purple cloud moves in, and eight squares fill a spread, each surrounding the protagonist with an atmosphere progressing from yellow to lavender to brown as the canine processes what has occurred; a Rothko retrospective could not be more moving. Until that point, the action has occurred within varying page designs, many showing Daisy's shifting sentiments in four vertical or horizontal panels. Her attentive human's legs are glimpsed frequently, a sunny child whose warmth is transferred in comforting full view at bedtime. When another day dawns, the frisky dog's person proffers a blue surprise; the exuberance at having a ball and a friend is barely containable across two pages. Raschka's genius lies in capturing the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children. They know how easy it is to cause an accident and will feel great relief at absorbing a way to repair damage.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A gray-and-white pup and her red ball are constant companions until a poodle inadvertently deflates the toy, taking the air out of Daisy as well. Raschka's nuanced illustrations brilliantly depict joy, shock, disbelief, sadness-and, with the gift of a blue ball-renewed contentment. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list This story about loss (and joy) is accomplished without a single word, which is perfect it puts you directly in the head space of its canine protagonist. The title tells us her name is Daisy, but she is a pretty anonymous little thing, drawn by Raschka as just a few indistinct yet somehow expressive squiggly lines. What's clear is that she loves playing with her ball, both indoors and out, until the fateful moment that another dog bites too hard on the ball and deflates it. In a heartaching series of nearly identical paintings, Daisy slumps into a sofa as depression overtakes her. Dogs, of course, don't know that there are more balls in the world, which makes her glee at the end of the book all the sweeter. Raschka uses fairly sophisticated comic-book arrangements long, narrow, horizontal panels, and so forth but masks them with soft watercolor edges instead of sharp corners. The result feels like something of pure emotion. Pretty close approximation of what it's like to be a dog, probably.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Edgar Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Long and Faraway Gone: A Novel
by Lou Berney

Book list *Starred Review* Affable Las Vegas PI Wyatt is happy doing background checks for casinos on potential management hires and getting home in time for dinner with his significant other, Laurie. When a casino exec asks him to look into who is harassing one of his in-laws, Wyatt is reluctant to take the case. When he learns he must go to Oklahoma City for it, he is emotionally rocked. Twenty-six years before, he was a 15-year-old OKC movie usher who, inexplicably, was spared execution in the murder of every other employee. That same summer, Julianna attended the state fair with her adored older sister, the beautiful and occasionally wild Genevieve, who disappeared into the crowd and was never seen again. Now a nurse, Julianna remains obsessed with Genevieve's disappearance. Wyatt's return to OKC brings everything back in a rush. Berney's first two novels (Gutshot Straight, 2011; Whiplash River, 2012) were delightful, Elmore Leonard-style crime novels. This time he's focused, very insightfully, on love, loss, and memory, and he astutely portrays the immediate and long-term psychological impact of the loss of the most important people in his characters' young lives. Wyatt, Juli, Genevieve, and Wyatt's dead coworkers are all fully realized creations that readers won't soon forget. A genuinely memorable novel of ideas.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog The Stone Diaries
by Carol Shields

Publishers Weekly Canadian writer Shields's novels and short stories ( Swann ; The Republic of Love , etc.) are intensely imagined, humanely generous, beautifully sustained and impeccably detailed. Despite rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, she has yet to achieve an audience here; one hopes this latest effort, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, will be her breakthrough. It is at once a playful sendup of the art of biography and a serious exploration of the essential mystery of human lives; the gist of this many-faceted story is that all biographies are only versions of the facts. Shields follows her heroine, Daisy Goodwill Hoad Flett, from her birth--and her mother's death--on the kitchen floor of a stonemason's cottage in a small quarry town in Manitoba through childhood in Winnipeg, adolescence and young womanhood in Bloomington, Ind. (another quarry town), two marriages, motherhood, widowhood, a brief, exhilarating career in Ottawa--and eventually to old age and death in Florida. Stone is the unifying image here: it affects the geography of Daisy's life, and ultimately her vision of herself. Wittily, ironically, touchingly, Shields gives us Daisy's version of her life and contrasting interpretations of events from her friends, children and extended family. (She even provides ostensible photographs of Daisy's family and friends.) Shields's prose is succint, clear and graceful, and she is wizardly with description, summarizing appearance, disposition and inner lives with elegant imagery. Secondary characters are equally compelling, especially Daisy's obese, phlegmatic mother; her meek, obsessive father, who transforms himself into an overbearing executive; her adoptive mother, her stubborn father-in-law. Readers who discover Shields with this book can also pick up a simultaneously published paperback version of an early first novel, Happenstance . Author tour. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Author of the ``most satisfying'' The Republic of Love ( LJ 1/92), Canadian novelist Shields here details the hard life of Daisy Stone Goodwill from her 1905 birth in Manitoba through old age.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog After Anna
by Lisa Scottoline

Book list After 16 years of estrangement, Maggie Ippolliti is overjoyed to hear from her daughter, Anna. There has been no contact between mother and daughter since Anna's birth, when Maggie's ex-husband, Florian, divorced her while she was hospitalized with postpartum psychosis. Maggie has found happiness with her new husband, Noah, and his son, Caleb, but losing Anna left a hole in her heart. Meeting Anna seems to be a dream come true: Anna wants to leave the boarding school where Florian has parked her and move in with Maggie. But, although Noah professes happiness that Anna is living with them, escalating tension between Noah and Anna explodes when Anna accuses him of sexual assault. Weeks later, all of their lives are changed forever when Anna is strangled, and Noah is arrested for her murder. Although Noah insists that he's innocent, Maggie is convinced of his guilt until she discovers a harrowing secret that forces her to question everything. Scottoline, a master at crafting intense family dramas, expertly twists Maggie's reality with a page-turning mix of guilt, self-delusion, and manipulation. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The popularity of Scottoline's Rosato & DiNunzio series notwithstanding, her family-centered stand-alones also do their part to keep this perennially popular author's fans coming back for more.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this nail-biting domestic thriller from Scottoline (One Perfect Lie), prominent Pennsylvania pediatric allergist Noah Alderman, a widower, finds love again with Maggie Ippolitti. She adores his son, and they have a happy life. But everything changes when Maggie gets a call from her daughter, Anna, whom she lost custody of when the girl was six months old. Now a high school student, Anna wants to live with her. Maggie is thrilled at a second chance, and Noah is overjoyed for her. But Anna is manipulative, refuses to follow rules, and pits Maggie against Noah. Tensions mount. When Anna is murdered, Maggie is devastated. Not only is her daughter dead, but Noah is convicted of the crime. Noah claims he's innocent, but Maggie doesn't believe him. After Maggie receives a call from Anna's therapist, however, she realizes things aren't what they appear and embarks on a mission to find the truth. Filled with plenty of twists and complex characters, this entertaining story builds to a satisfying conclusion. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list After 16 years of estrangement, Maggie Ippolliti is overjoyed to hear from her daughter, Anna. There has been no contact between mother and daughter since Anna's birth, when Maggie's ex-husband, Florian, divorced her while she was hospitalized with postpartum psychosis. Maggie has found happiness with her new husband, Noah, and his son, Caleb, but losing Anna left a hole in her heart. Meeting Anna seems to be a dream come true: Anna wants to leave the boarding school where Florian has parked her and move in with Maggie. But, although Noah professes happiness that Anna is living with them, escalating tension between Noah and Anna explodes when Anna accuses him of sexual assault. Weeks later, all of their lives are changed forever when Anna is strangled, and Noah is arrested for her murder. Although Noah insists that he's innocent, Maggie is convinced of his guilt until she discovers a harrowing secret that forces her to question everything. Scottoline, a master at crafting intense family dramas, expertly twists Maggie's reality with a page-turning mix of guilt, self-delusion, and manipulation. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The popularity of Scottoline's Rosato & DiNunzio series notwithstanding, her family-centered stand-alones also do their part to keep this perennially popular author's fans coming back for more.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Book list After 16 years of estrangement, Maggie Ippolliti is overjoyed to hear from her daughter, Anna. There has been no contact between mother and daughter since Anna's birth, when Maggie's ex-husband, Florian, divorced her while she was hospitalized with postpartum psychosis. Maggie has found happiness with her new husband, Noah, and his son, Caleb, but losing Anna left a hole in her heart. Meeting Anna seems to be a dream come true: Anna wants to leave the boarding school where Florian has parked her and move in with Maggie. But, although Noah professes happiness that Anna is living with them, escalating tension between Noah and Anna explodes when Anna accuses him of sexual assault. Weeks later, all of their lives are changed forever when Anna is strangled, and Noah is arrested for her murder. Although Noah insists that he's innocent, Maggie is convinced of his guilt until she discovers a harrowing secret that forces her to question everything. Scottoline, a master at crafting intense family dramas, expertly twists Maggie's reality with a page-turning mix of guilt, self-delusion, and manipulation. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The popularity of Scottoline's Rosato & DiNunzio series notwithstanding, her family-centered stand-alones also do their part to keep this perennially popular author's fans coming back for more.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate

School Library Journal Gr 3-7-This tender tale of friendship and hope is narrated by a silverback gorilla living at The Big Top Mall, a shabby, circus-themed roadside attraction. For years, Ivan was passively content. He had his art, unlimited bananas, and his friends: Stella (an elephant), Bob (a stray dog), and Julia (a human child). Ivan's eyes are finally opened to his deplorable surroundings when he loses a friend due to neglect. The last straw is when he witnesses the attraction's owner abusing Ruby, a newly acquired baby elephant. Thus, Ivan is inspired to take action. With some help from his human friends, his dream of a better life for all the Big Top's animals just might come true. The character of Ivan, as explained in an author's note, is inspired by a real gorilla that lived through similar conditions before being adopted by Zoo Atlanta. Applegate makes a powerful statement about the treatment of animals-especially those living in captivity-and reminds readers that all creatures deserve a safe place to call home. Castelao's delightful illustrations enhance this lovely story, and the characters will capture readers' hearts and never let go. A must-have.-Alissa J. LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Inspired by a true story, Applegate (Home of the Brave) offers a haunting tale told from the perspective of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who has been confined to a small "domain" of concrete, metal, and glass for 27 years. Joining Ivan at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade are Stella, an aging elephant, and Bob, a feisty stray dog. While other animals perform, Ivan makes art, watches TV, and offers melancholy assessments of their situation. When Ruby, an inquisitive baby elephant, arrives and Stella dies from neglect, her dying wish is for Ivan to help Ruby escape. The brief chapters read like free-verse poetry, the extra line breaks between paragraphs driving home the contrast between Ivan and humans, who in his opinion, "waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot." As is to be expected, there's significant anthropomorphism, but Applegate is largely successful in creating a protagonist who can understand humans yet feels like a gorilla. Although Ivan's role in the events leading to their rescue reads as too human, readers will be left rethinking our relationship to animals. Final art not seen by PW. Agent: Wernick & Pratt Agency. Illustrator's agent: Kidshannon. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Ivan, a silverback gorilla, has lived in a glass, metal, and concrete enclosure at Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, conveniently located off I-95, for 27 years. Bored, he watches TV, draws pictures, throws me-balls (dried excrement) at visitors, and enjoys the company of a venerable elephant named Stella and a few other friends. After a baby elephant arrives, Ivan makes Stella a solemn promise that seems impossible to fulfill. The text, written in first person from Ivan's point of view, does a good job of vividly conveying his personality, emotions, and intelligence as well as creating a sense of otherness in his point of view. His story is based on the life of a gorilla now living at Zoo Atlanta. The book's wide-spaced lines, plentiful white space, and pleasing black-and-white illustrations make this a quicker read than the page count might suggest. Animals fans will enjoy this one.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 3-7-This tender tale of friendship and hope is narrated by a silverback gorilla living at The Big Top Mall, a shabby, circus-themed roadside attraction. For years, Ivan was passively content. He had his art, unlimited bananas, and his friends: Stella (an elephant), Bob (a stray dog), and Julia (a human child). Ivan's eyes are finally opened to his deplorable surroundings when he loses a friend due to neglect. The last straw is when he witnesses the attraction's owner abusing Ruby, a newly acquired baby elephant. Thus, Ivan is inspired to take action. With some help from his human friends, his dream of a better life for all the Big Top's animals just might come true. The character of Ivan, as explained in an author's note, is inspired by a real gorilla that lived through similar conditions before being adopted by Zoo Atlanta. Applegate makes a powerful statement about the treatment of animals-especially those living in captivity-and reminds readers that all creatures deserve a safe place to call home. Castelao's delightful illustrations enhance this lovely story, and the characters will capture readers' hearts and never let go. A must-have.-Alissa J. LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Treasure Hunt
by Bill Cosby

School Library Journal : K-Gr 3--Cosby turns his hand to writing, telling stories about situations that children often face. In The Best Way to Play, Little Bill, the narrator, and his friends get caught up in the excitement and marketing of their favorite TV cartoon, Space Explorers, and desperately want their parents to buy them the expensive video game. They become bored with it quickly, however, and realize that it's more fun to play Space Explorers outside. In The Meanest Thing to Say, Little Bill comes face to face with a bully. The Treasure Hunt takes him on a voyage of self-exploration. It seems to him that everyone in his family has a special quality. After a full day of searching, he discovers that his is "telling stories and making people laugh." These titles feature short chapters, making them appropriate for beginning readers--but they're also short enough to be read aloud. Honeywood's illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and show Little Bill and his friends and family as having distinctive personalities and characteristics. Each book comes with a letter to parents from a child psychiatrist about the subject matter in that book. While the writing is nothing extraordinary, Cosby has a good grasp of the issues and how the world looks through children's eyes. The primarily African-American characters also make these books welcome additions to easy-reader collections.

Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

Library Journal: Starred Review. Winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses) here offers a prescient account of a man and his son trying to survive in a devastated country where food is scarce and everyone has become a scavenger. The term survival of the fittest rings true here—very few people remain, and friends are extinct. Essentially, this is a story about nature vs. nurture, commitment and promises, and though there aren't many characters, there is abundant life in the prose. We are reminded how McCarthy has mastered the world outside of our domestic and social circles, with each description reading as if he had pulled a scene from the landscape and pasted it in the book. He uses metaphors the way some writers use punctuation, sprinkling them about with an artist's eye, showing us that literature from the heart still exists. Recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/06.]—Stephen Morrow, Columbus, OH

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Violence, in McCarthy's postapocalyptic tour de force, has been visited worldwide in the form of a "long shear of light and then a series of low concussions" that leaves cities and forests burned, birds and fish dead and the earth shrouded in gray clouds of ash. In this landscape, an unnamed man and his young son journey down a road to get to the sea. (The man's wife, who gave birth to the boy after calamity struck, has killed herself.) They carry blankets and scavenged food in a shopping cart, and the man is armed with a revolver loaded with his last two bullets. Beyond the ever-present possibility of starvation lies the threat of roving bands of cannibalistic thugs. The man assures the boy that the two of them are "good guys," but from the way his father treats other stray survivors the boy sees that his father has turned into an amoral survivalist, tenuously attached to the morality of the past by his fierce love for his son. McCarthy establishes himself here as the closest thing in American literature to an Old Testament prophet, trolling the blackest registers of human emotion to create a haunting and grim novel about civilization's slow death after the power goes out. 250,000 announced first printing; BOMC main selection.(Oct.)

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Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Frindle
by Andrew Clements

School Library Journal Gr 4-6?Nicholas Allen, a sharp, creative, independent thinker starts fifth grade looking for a way to sabotage his Language Arts class. The teacher, Mrs. Granger, is a legend, and he believes her when she states that it is the people who decide what words go into the dictionary. Picking up a dropped pen triggers a brilliant idea. He coins a new word for pen-frindle. It's all for fun, but frindle catches on and Nick finds himself on the "Late Show" and "Good Morning America" explaining his new word. Readers will chuckle from beginning to end as they recognize themselves and their classrooms in the cast of characters. A remarkable teacher's belief in the power of words shines through the entire story, as does a young man's tenacity in proving his point. Outstanding and witty.?Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA

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Publishers Weekly Always one step ahead of his teachers, Nick not only can "feel a homework assignment coming the way a farmer can feel a rainstorm" but can dream up a distraction to prevent the assignment from being given. In fifth grade, however, he meets his match in tough language-arts teacher Mrs. Granger. Just to get under her skin?and despite her loud protests?he invents the word "frindle" and convinces the whole school to use it instead of the word "pen." The word spreads to the city, nation and world, and Clements (Big Al) fast-forwards the story by 10 years to show that "frindle" has made it into the dictionary. With this coup Nick gets a big surprise: the proof that Mrs. Granger was rooting for "frindle" all along. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, his well-worn word has become real. Dictionary lovers will cotton to this mild classroom fantasy, while readers who have a hard time believing that one person could invent a word out of thin air will be surprised to learn that the word "quiz" was invented the same way. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

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World Fantasy Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Physiognomy
by Jeffrey Ford

Publishers Weekly Ruled by the Hitler-like Master Drachton Below according to the principles of Physiognomy (the "science" of judging the proportions of the flesh), the anti-utopian Well-Built City of Ford's goofily allegorical debut is already ripe for revolution when Below sends physiognomist Cley to the mining town Gronus to track down a fabled white fruit stolen from the state Church. A cruel, merciless bureaucrat who recommends anyone with less than perfect features for execution or the sulfur mines, Cley starts to soften toward his subversive assistant, Arla, and eventually vows to overthrow the City. Ford's inventions founder somewhere in the never-never land between Asimov and Kafka, as he substitutes the cute for the prophetic, obvious moralizing for original inventions ("Shudder," for instance, is coffee; "absence" is alcohol; "sheer beauty" a heroin-like opiate). The things Ford does invent are too whimsical to be threatening, such as the blue miners who are used as fuel or monuments when they die, and the thematic conflicts?good vs. Evil, death vs. Immortality, man vs. Nature, man vs. himself?lack subtlety, to say the least, while Ford's social crusades (against sexism and state violence) are too cartoonish to evoke any real-life struggles. Despite Ford's evident, childlike delight in his alter-world, the accoutrements of the story aren't enough to sustain its larger concerns. (Sept.)

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Book list Cley, Physiognomer First Class, arrives in a frontier mining town in the realm despotically ruled by his and everybody else's Master to rediscover the white fruit kept by the town church. The fruit came from a place commonly called paradise, and the Master wants it because eating it confers immortality. But Cley bungles his assignment mysteriously, falling afoul of the Master, who has the town destroyed and Cley dispatched to a sulfur-mining penal colony and certain death. Cley gets out, of course, becomes a fifth columnist, and attains some salvation, as well as an enormous improvement in personality, in a pedestrianly written yet colorful and fast-paced quest fantasy that is more beholden to such graphic novels as Ronin and the Crow and Sandman series and to redemption sagas in the vein of The Pilgrim's Progress than to sword-and-sorcery epics. --Ray Olson

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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