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Staff Book Review

November 5, 2021

These book reviews were contributed by Jenna from our Middlefield Branch. Find all Staff Book Reviews here. 

Saving Sorya, Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen : Middle Grade Graphic Novel
After stumbling upon a bear bile farm as a child and the horrifying conditions the animals lived under, Chang decides to become a wildlife conservationist. Chasing her dream with determination, she eventually reaches her goal and has the chance to raise a sun bear cub, Sorya, and reintroduce her to the wild…even if letting go will be harder than she expected. Full of beautiful, detailed art and based around the author’s own experiences working with conservationists in Vietnam, Saving Sorya is a gorgeous, compelling peek into the compassionate efforts to protect and preserve nature in a child-friendly graphic novel form.

Pawcasso by Remy Lai : Middle Grade Graphic Novel
When eleven-year-old Jo catches sight of a dog with a shopping basket out the window one Saturday morning, she can’t help following him as he goes about town doing shopping all on his own. When a bookstore art group mistakes her as the dog’s owner, Jo figures the little white lie can’t hurt anyone, and the dog–dubbed “Pawcasso”–is always on his own anyway. What harm could there be in letting him be an art model? But when leash activists raise a complaint about a dog wandering alone and the locals who love the basket-toting dog raise a counter complaint right back, Jo finds herself in a sticky situation with a pile of lies looming above her head. Can she sort this mess out? Or will Pawcasso lose his freedom and Jo lose her new friends when the truth comes out? Read this children’s graphic novel to find out!

Four Lost Cities by Annalee Newitz: Non-Fiction/ History
The birth and decay of urban life is something that has cycled from the moment humans first decided to create long-term, permanent settlements. In an exploration of four ancient cities around the world–Çatalhöyük in Turkey, Pompeii in Italy, Angkor in Cambodia, and Cahokia by current day St. Louis Missouri– science journalist Annalee Newitz delves into what can cause cities to develop–and what sort of circumstances tear them apart. Looking at the people that built them–the workers, those often overlooked by histories fascinated by those in power–Newitz invites the reader to see the people behind the monuments and how their stories are still relevant today.

Sheepish (Wolf Under Cover) by Helen Yoon : Juvenile Fiction/ Graphic Picture Book
Wolf loves sheep–to eat. With dreams of sheep sandwiches floating in his head, he concocts the brilliant plan to infiltrate the sheep community. Dress like a sheep, act like a sheep, fit in with the sheep until their guard was down, and bam! Lots of sheep to eat! But the longer Wolf spends with the sheep, the less tasty they look. Can a wolf in sheep’s clothing really be a sheep? With a lot of visual humor and extra fluffy sheep, this picture book takes a new spin on the ‘wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing’ tale for a heart-warming end.

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