I read this book in one sitting with a three year old: I'd call that an accomplishment and give a lot of that credit to author Aaron Blabey. We follow Mr. Wolf and his associates, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, and Mr. Shark, on a mission to turn around their longtime reputations as bad guys. They hit just a couple bumps along the way, but are determined to make amends.
If you are a devoted Disney fan like me, you may be reluctant about the company's recent foray into live-action remakes of their classic animated movies. In this 2019 live-action version of Aladdin (rated PG), I went in with low expectations, especially for Will Smith in the role of Genie, because Robin Williams' performance as the 1992 animated Genie was so outstanding. Smith ultimately does not try to mimic Williams' style and interpretation, but rather adds his own flair to the part. Genie even gets an expanded storyline in the live-action. I also appreciated that Jasmine was a more developed character, expressing a desire to break down the oppression of her society and voice her opinions as a leader.
Composer and songwriter Alan Menken returns to score the live-action film, enhancing his original music and adding additional songs not part of the 1992 version. So perhaps Disney can, in fact, be successful in livening up their animated classics after all!
Fellow parents and Star Wars fans, this is sure to please! Adam Rex writes this book in a conversational style, so I highly encourage reading in your best Darth Vader voice for an extra fun experience. Parents (and Star Wars buff kiddos) will appreciate nods to the movies and characters throughout.
All in all, Are You Scared, Darth Vader? (2019) is a hilarious book with a special twist ending. So, are you ready to find out if there is actually something frightening enough to scare Darth Vader?
Check out this book in print or digitally via Hoopla.
This delightful album focused on being kind will fill you up with happiness! Grownups might recognize covers of popular songs on a couple of tracks, but the majority are fresh new tunes for your family to enjoy together. My son and I have already listened to Under the Big Umbrella several times, and our favorite songs are "Under the Big Umbrella" and "Drop in the Bucket."
Check out this 2019 release from Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could.
Miles Morales, a New York teen just starting out at a new school finds himself bitten by (yes) a radioactive spider...but this isn't your typical Spider-Man origin story. From there the Spider-verses collide and an eclectic cast of characters comes together from multiple realities. Readers of the comics will definitely appreciate this merge, but all can enjoy the superhero action and sparks of humor we are used to throughout most of the Marvel Universe. So join Miles as he learns to have confidence in himself and figures out his Spidey senses to save not only his dimension but also everyone else's!
Do you have kids in your family who love LEGOs? Are you, yourself an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGOs)? This Netflix documentary follows the creative development and build process of LEGO House in Denmark, also tying in some of the LEGO company's history. LEGO House was designed to offer visitors a LEGO experience like no other. After watching, you'll definitely want to add Billund, Denmark to your travel bucket list!
This documentary is available on Netflix via the library's Roku devices.
Children of the 80s and 90s, this show is especially for you! Full of nostalgia, fun facts, and original commercials, this 8-part (so far) documentary series details iconic toy brands including Star Wars, Barbie, Transformers, and more. Even though each episode features one brand, my favorite part was seeing the connections between brands throughout the series. Relive your childhood through The Toys That Made Us, available on Netflix via the library's Roku devices.
Trevor Noah has a gift for storytelling (which makes it no surprise that he is now a comedian). I would have liked this book more if it were told in chronological order, but ultimately, I assume the order in which it is presented goes back to the fact that he's a comedian and likely thinks anecdotally vs. chronologically. That said, Noah tells such fascinating stories of his childhood, teen years, and young adult life, all while intertwining the cultural setting of South Africa while he was growing up. I highly recommend the audio to fully appreciate both the variety of languages Noah references and the emotion and humor in his storytelling.
Check out Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood and other titles on this year's 2019 Lincoln Award (PDF): Illinois Teen Readers' Choice nominee list.
The two stories eventually intertwine, and if you are like me, All We Have Left will have you on the edge of your seat as piece by piece you learn how Alia's and Jesse's experiences are connected. All We Have Left by Wendy Mills is a nominee for the 2019 Lincoln Award (PDF), the Illinois teen readers' choice award.
Hollis reads the audio version (available on CD or downloadable on hoopla and eMediaLibrary), which I highly recommend!
Check out Ugly and other titles on this year's 2019 Bluestem nominee list targeted for grades 3-5.
Willow struggles interacting with other humans; however, she loves dogs and has a special connection with her family's favorite sled dog, Roxy. While attempting to save Roxy's life, an unexpected snowstorm ends up landing Willow in a harrowing predicament. Ultimately, though, this adventure leads to the reveal of a family secret kept hidden Willow's entire life.
A quick read and a creative format, Diamond Willow is on the Bluestem nominee list for 2019 for grades 3-5.
Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson is among the 2019 Bluestem and Caudill Award nominees for the State of Illinois, designed for students in grades 3-5 and 4-8, respectively, but grownups, don't discount the opportunity to enjoy this book as well!