Zindel, Paul. Night of the Bat. (2001)
Sadly, out of print. Jake goes to spend time with his scientist father who is researching bats in the Amazon. Shortly after he arrives, Jake is showing a worker his electronic Gizmo that can "see" through the rainforest with echolocation, and they find the bodies of two missing workers. Soon, giant rabid attack bats are taking down workers, and according to the wisdom of the natives, the bite of these bats does horrible things to the victims, so they must be killed. Can Jake use his technology to protect his father against this creature, and prove his usefulness?
Strengths: Fast paced adventure and gore.
Weakness: Out of print! Hyperion, please reissue these all!
Jackson, Alison. Eggs over Evie.
Evie is sad because her famous chef father has moved out, remarried, and is expecting twins with his new wife. He also took her dog, Mousse. Evie helps her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Hamilton, with her cat until the cat is hit by a car, then tries to get her to adopt a new animal. Evie's mother is starting to date, Evie meets a boy she likes at a cooking class, and tries to navigate all of the difficult aspects of her life.
Strengths: This is a very charming book. A definite buy for elementary libraries, since the main character is 13 but all of her struggles are appropriate for younger grades. Includes recipes!
Weaknesses: I will buy this for my low readers, but it reads a little young. (The format is smaller, and the cover gives it that air as well.)
LaFosse, Michael G. Trash origami : 25 paper folding projects reusing everyday materials
My origami books were all falling to little pieces, and this was an excellent purchase, although I don't necessarily get to read nonfiction before I buy it. The instructions were easy to follow, the pictures very nice, and the fact that this encourages students to use waste paper, bags, etc. is great. I particularly liked the butterflies folded out of Starburst wrappers. My only problem was that the book came with a DVD, and I never like to circulate those. Probably just should.
Sachs, Marilyn. The Bears' House. (1971)
Had this in my hands to recommend to a student, and totally blanked on it, so I had to read it again. Fran Ellen has trouble in school because she sucks her thumb, smells and tends not play hooky so she can go home to check on her baby sister. Her mother is mentally disturbed in the wake of her father's departure, and the family is barely holding together. To escape her reality, Fran Ellen visualizes herself in the dollhouse in her classroom, which her teacher is going to give to a student upon her retirement at the end of the year. Luckily, this caring teacher finds out about Fran Ellen's situation and tries to help.
Strengths: This is a good book for the lower readers who still want sad books.
Weaknesses: The cover makes this look like a much lighter book.
Also continued my trek through Erin Hunter with Starlight, Twilight, Sunset. Cats following the prophecies of their warrior ancestors and finding a new home. While fighting other cats. And eating moles.