Category Archives: Book Reviews

Wyoming Book Reviews

Come in: Open the Doors to You
by Casey Rislov; illus. Allie Strom
Casper, WY : Casey Rislov Press, 2015.

Open the Doors to You by Casey Rislov and illustrated by Allie Strom introduces the readers to all of the possibilities they may find by opening different doors—both real, physical doors, and the more abstract doors of opportunities. With literal doors, opening the door to home leads to love and laughter and the door to school leads to learning. More abstract are the doors to sports, music, and the neighborhood. While some younger students may need help with the switch to the figurative, older students will start thinking about the various “doors” in their lives and which ones they enjoy going through. This is an interesting way to present opportunities and begin having children think about self-awareness. The illustrations show dynamic multicultural families doing a variety of activities, with a few two-page picture-only spreads that show the importance of family and community. The illustrations, combined with the in-text questions provide a good basis for using this book as a read-aloud with children: “Which door will you open next?”

Jennisen Lucas, Library Media Specialist
Park County School District 1

Swing Sideways
By Nancy Turner Stevenson

New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016.

We all have that one friend or one summer that helped define who we are and how we perceive the world around us. Swing Sideways is  the debut novel of Wyoming based author Nanci Turner Stevenson who masterfully shares one such story. Annie wants to break free of who she once was and when she meets California she knows she has found that friend who can help her. California is the girl we all wished was our best friend growing up, brave, adventurous, and unencumbered. She is spending the summer with her estranged grandpa but hopes to find the ponies that she is convinced will bring her mother home. Annie helps California on her mission, and just when it seems they will be successful, Annie learns the truth. Although this book is written for 8-12 year olds, I found myself caring more and more about these characters with each chapter. I highly recommend this Indian Paintbrush nominee and have already purchased Swing Sideways as my annual Christmas gift for friends and family of all ages.

Connie Hollin, Library Media Specialist
Guernsey-Sunrise School


Wyoming Book Reviews

Pulling Words
By Nicholas Trandahl
North Hampton, New Hampshire: Winter Goose Publishing, 2017

 Pulling Words is Nicholas Trandahl’s sixth published book. Over the years, I have witnessed Nicholas delve into various types of writing genres such as fantasy, literary fiction, short stories, and poetry as he seeks a creative outlet for the stories residing in his fingertips. He has unquestionably refined his craft and has a definitive achievement with his newest book of poetry, Pulling Words.

 Pulling Words is the author’s perception of the ordinary in everyday life and a reminder to us of how truly extraordinary it can be when we give pause to consideration. Trandahl observes in his poem, “The Forgotten Taste of Mulberries:” “All five of our senses don’t attend each and every poignant meeting of memory…” I promise you, time spent with this compilation of poetry will bring you ever so much closer to absolute attendance. The collection of poetry in Pulling Words can easily be devoured in one sitting, however, don’t ignore your inclination to want to linger.

Brenda Mahoney-Ayres, Director
Weston County Library System

Yellowstone National Park: Through the Lens of Time
By Bradly J. Boner

University Press of Colorado, 2017

Bradly J. Boner embarks on a memorable adventure to re-photograph images taken by William Henry Jackson on the Yellowstone National Park Hayden Survey of 1871. Jackson’s photographs played a large role in getting Congress to designate Yellowstone as a national park. Boner faced many dangers and challenges on his adventure: weather, animal encounters, terrain, and the risk of getting lost in the backcountry.

The history Boner provides in this book makes the reader want to cozy up with it. However, it is the size of a coffee table book and weighs over five pounds. Boner’s color photographs provide a welcome contrast to Jackson’s original black and white photographs, providing interesting differences between then and now. Boner provides notes from the survey of 1871 alongside his own notes, giving the reader contrasting perspectives.

In addition, Boner provides some Yellowstone history post the Hayden survey as well as an afterword, a thorough notes section, and extensive bibliography. Yellowstone National Park: Through the Lens of Time would make a great addition to any collection of Yellowstone books as well as coffee table and re-photography books.

Thomas Ivie, Research & Statistics Librarian
Wyoming State Library

Wyoming Book Reviews

Black Hare (The Aspects Book 1)
By Toni L.H. Boughton
Toni L.H. Boughton, 2017

Toni Boughton, veteran writer of the Wolf in the Land of Dead trilogy, brings to life a world that is at once familiar as it is fantastic in Black Hare. Part horror, part fantasy, part mystery, this book has something for everyone.

Rook, a woman driven by demons both real and psychological, finds herself unwillingly settling down in small town Wyoming where everything is not as it seems. Her only companion, a spectral black hare she can’t shake, provides little comfort and represents a responsibility – and a past – she would rather forget. Meanwhile, the town of Red Horse River is suffering from a series of brutal and fiery deaths that perhaps only Rook can stop – if she can find a way to overpower the threatening evil, and discover the good in herself.

I was enthralled by this story and it’s beautifully complicated heroine, and found Boughton’s setting and story-telling intensely immersive. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique, fast-paced read and can’t wait for the next installment!

Brenna Philbrick, Library Assistant, Senior
University of Wyoming Coe Library

Dilemmas of the Angels: Poems
By David Romtvedt
Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 2017

David Romtvedt of Buffalo, Wyoming is a professor of creative writing at UW, the former poet laureate of Wyoming, the author of ten published works of prose and poetry, and my favorite Wyoming poet. Dilemmas of the Angels is an impressive and enjoyable collection of bittersweet poems of the superna