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Archives for July 2014

Happy birthday, Harry!

Happy birthday to one of kidlit’s most beloved and backlashed big-name characters, Harry Potter! (He’d be thirty-four this year. Holy hippogriff.) The Horn Book has had a lot to say — good, bad, and damn, these books are long — about The Boy Who Lived over the years. Here’s a roundup of reviews, articles, and […]

Harry Potter read-alikes

These titles — all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine — offer a mix of magic, adventure, humor, and suspense that will enchant Harry Potter fans. So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane [Young Wizards series] (Delacorte, 1983; reissued by Harcourt, 2003) A splendid, unusual fantasy tells of the efforts of two […]

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore app review

Digital reproductions of beautiful watercolor-painted collages from some of Eric Carle’s most popular picture books take center stage as “3D pop-ups” in a new, colorful app, The Very Hungry CaterpillarTM & Friends – Play & Explore (StoryToys, 2014). Though this activity app for the youngest users does not contain any of Carle’s stories, readers familiar […]

Why are we doing any of this?

Every teacher has heard it before: if you’re teaching students to succeed on the Test, then you’re teaching them the skills they’ll need to succeed in college and beyond. And if you’re like me, you’ve either inwardly or outwardly scoffed at this claim. As I use the summer to reflect on this past school year […]

Review of Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox; illus. by Brian Floca Preschool, Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    48 pp. 5/14    978-0-375-85888-8    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95888-5    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-375-98769-4    $10.99 Renowned long-distance swimmer Cox here celebrates a swimmer of a different species: a twelve-hundred-pound elephant seal that preferred the warm banks of the Avon River […]

Review of Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight

Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer; 
illus. by Elise Gravel Primary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    101 pp. 4/14    978-0-316-24319-3    $14.99 Paper ed.  978-0-316-24320-9    $5.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-24321-6    $5.99 “Take Your Kid to Work Day” will never again be the same for Archie. He has been waiting “eight years, eight months, and […]

Chicks ‘n ducks ‘n geese

We’re off tomorrow to spend a few days with the Sendak Fellows, Nora Krug and Harry Bliss, at a farm Maurice owned in upstate New York. (Why did he need a farm? Did he need a place to get away from it all from his place to get away from it all in the wilds […]

Summertime books for middle school boys

Earlier this summer, my middle school colleagues and I worked on a curriculum project in our district’s comprehensive high school — a busy place during the summer. On one of those days, literally hundreds of our students lined up to participate in a teen summer job fair. As they patiently waited in line, they chatted […]

Reading about WWI

One hundred years ago today, the first shots of World War I were fired. These books about the WWI era — fiction and nonfiction for a range of ages — are all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide. Picture Books The text of Timothy Decker’s unusual picture book The Letter […]

Review of I Can Do It Myself

I Can Do It Myself by Valorie Fisher; 
photos by the author Preschool, Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp. 7/14    978-0-449-81593-9    $17.99    g Tiny poseable dolls help young children celebrate the many concepts they need to learn. Fisher (Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five, rev. 7/11) includes the basics for preschoolers and kindergartners: […]