Egan, Tim. Dodsworth in London.
I'm a sucker for anything set in London, and someone recommended this "I Can Read" type story of Dodsworth and his duck, who are out for the day. The duck gets lost, and the queen's duck starts to follow Dodsworth around. Eventually, they find the duck and get to spend the night at the palace. A lot of London sites are mentioned, but the illustrations are fairly generic, and I don't know how Queen Victoria will feel about being portrayed as a cow. This might be a good purchase for beginning readers.
Greene, Stephanie. Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley.
Sophie is going to turn ten soon, and thinks her father has agreed to get her a baby gorilla for her birthday. Since she has a large and somewhat stressed family, this seems unlikely, but she tells her classmates, who are all interested. When Sophie finally realizes that she's not going to be getting a gorilla, she starts to dread her birthday. I did not realize that this was the third book in the series. I was hoping for something like Lauren Myracle's Twelve or Wendy Mass' Finally, but this book seems to young for my students.
Monniger, Joseph. Wish.
Things are difficult for Bee and her younger brother, Tommy. Their single mother tries hard to raise them, but is a little too interested in men. Tommy's cycstic fibrosis requires a lot of additional care, which is frequently left to Bee. When a wish foundation grants Tommy the chance to go to California to dive with sharks, the family travels there. After their mother stays away all night with a man she met on the plane, Bee and Tommy decide to go on their own and visit a surfer who was attacked by a shark. Things go badly wrong, and the family has to deal with all of the consequences of a difficult family dynamic.
This was an interesting book, with a lot of information about sharks, cystic fibrosis, and surfing. Unfortunately, I get few inquiries about any of those. Below is a list of books that deal with cystic fibrosis, but given the advances in medical treatment, anything written before 2000 is probably not very accurate.
Ethridge, Keith. Toothpick (1988)
McDaniel, Lurlene. A Time to Die (1992)
Till Death Do Us Part (1997)
Napoli, Donna Jo. Breath (2003)
Kingsbury, Karen. A Thousand Tomorrows (2005)
Halpin, Brenda. Forever Changes (2008)
Betty Crocker: Decorating Cake and Cupcakes.
This was one of the better cake decorating books. Unlike What's New, Cupcake, these have instructions that students could actually follow. No special pans are required, there are good tips on how to make a piping bag out of a plastic bag, and there are lots of cut up cakes, which I know I made in middle school. There are some good seasonal suggestions, and some very cute frog and snowmen cupcakes. The only down side of this is that it is a paperback. Will definitely purchase this, since many students have been asking for cake decorating books.