Thursday, March 11, 2021

Red Rover and Sally Ride

Krovatin, Christopher. Red Rover
March 2nd 2021 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

When Amy's family finds a dog chained up at the side of the road with tape over its mouth and eyes, they take pity on it. They free the dog, who is surprisingly calm, and seems well trained. The parents agree to take the dog to the vet, but the one nearby refuses to see the animal. Younger sister Katie seems to have bonded with the animal, and says that his name is Rover. The vet back home says Rover is in good health, although he has some hot spots that could be expensive to treat... but when the vet leaves the room and comes back, the spots are gone. Amy is trying to put together a top notch science fair project (after her one last year that featured a food dehydrator in an explanation of how mummification worked!), and notices that Rover seems to be able to turn off her iPad when he wants attention. While generally well behaved, Rover sends all the other animals around him into a tizzy, including family dog Stormy. As time goes on, Rover demands more and more attention, and bad things happen when his silent but insistent wishes are ignored. Stormy falls down the steps, Amy gets locked in the attic, her father is pushed into cabinets and sustains a head injury, and a "dog whisperer" is thrown through a picture window. Amy convinces her mother to get rid of the dog, and they take it to a shelter, but Rover soon reappears. After a significant house fire, Amy starts to research the dog's back story, and comes across an alarming amount of information about his evil doings. With the help of Becca, a vet tech, and Dola, who has spiritual connections, Amy tries to neutralize Rover's powers and save her family. But how long will evil stay in a kennel before it wants to go for a walk?
Strengths: Yes! This! My students all seem to want creepy, scary mystery books, and this was perfect. Not so scary that they won't sleep at night, but a nice psychological thriller with a good dose of science fair thrown in. I also really loved the tension created by the fact that it was a dog that was evil. Dogs are good, right? This poor one was abused. There is also a bit of a twist with the origin of the dog that was just perfect, but which I don't want to ruin. This was a bit like Oh's Spirit Hunters crossed with Bell's Frozen Charlotte crossed with Stratton's The Dogs. Anyone having a Scholastic Book Fair should just preorder an entire box of this title. 
Weaknesses: No! Paperback only! No! No! No! Come ON. The sappy, dealing with trauma and grief  "heartprint" books that would gather dust on my shelves are in hardcover, and this book, which I need THREE hardcovers of to keep up with demand, is in PAPERBACK? No.
What I really think: This has to be available in prebind. I went into this with some trepidation: Krovatin's The Gravediggers (2012) had such promise as a zombie novel, but got off to a slow start. The series hasn't circulated as much as I would like. This, though, was awesome. Right up there with Richardson's The Devil's Footsteps (2005), but with a better cover. 

Shepherd, Kat. The Cat's Paw (The Gemini Mysteries Book 2) 
5 January 2021, Yello Jacket
Library copy

I had a student who was a huge fan of The North Star who was waiting eagerly for this installment, so I rushed through it. I won't see the student again until March 8th, so wanted to make sure she had something to read!

These reminds me a little of Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson's  Mysteries in Our National Parks (1997), which I probably should weed but just can't, and also a bit of Scooby Doo. This time it was the gala at the zoo that alerted the kids to the missing red panda.  Definitely will get any further books in this series. 

Atia Abawi, Chelsea Clinton, Alexandra Boiger (Illus.), Gillian Flint (Illus.)
She Persisted: Sally Ride
March 2nd 2021 by Philomel Books, Penguing RandomHouse

Happy Book Birthday to this newest entry in the She Persisted series, which now has at least eight books! Between Chelsea Clinton's introduction, the wide range of woman portrayed, and the quick, fun text with great illustrations, I cannot stop reading these. I was a huge fan of the Childhood of Famous Americans books and read just about all of them in my elementary school library, so these are just the ticket for young, feminist fans of biographies. (There's already one about Nellie Bly for my daughter Nell, whose real name is Eleanor, after Roosevelt!)

That said, these are a bit young for my readers. I do want to mention O'Shaughnessy's. Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America's Pioneering Woman in Space October (2015). If you don't have this one for a middle school, you really should. It has so many personal photographs, and really feels like the way that all future biographies should be formatted!

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