About Betty Carter

Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

Review of Old Wolf


Old Wolf by Avi; illus. by Brian Floca Intermediate, Middle School   Jackson/Atheneum   147 pp. 8/15   978-1-4424-9921-8   $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9924-9   $10.99 As winter wanes in the mountain regions of Colorado, Nashoba, an aging wolf, struggles to find fresh game for his pack, all the while desperately trying to hold on to his alpha status. He […]

Review of Noah Webster: Man of Many Words

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Noah Webster: Man of Many Words by Catherine Reef Middle School, High School   Clarion   214 pp. 8/15   978-0-544-12983-2   $18.99   g Think of what it would be like to create the first American dictionary: selecting the words, including those used in science and math as well as those from everyday speech; determining spelling, such as favor […]

Review of Daylight Starlight Wildlife

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Daylight Starlight Wildlife by Wendell Minor; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Paulsen/Penguin   32 pp. 5/15   978-0-399-24662-3   $17.99 In his signature representational artistic style — detailed, luminous, and pristine — Minor compares and contrasts diurnal and nocturnal animals. The opening double-page spread establishes the pattern. The creatures introduced are shown in a meadow, with half […]

Review of Tommy


Tommy: The Gun that Changed America by Karen Blumenthal Middle School, High School     Roaring Brook     223 pp. 6/15     978-1-62672-084-8     $19.99     g In this biography of a gun and the times in which it lived, Blumenthal traces the Thompson submachine gun, a.k.a. the Tommy. After the Spanish-American War, an Army officer, John […]

Review of Hit Count

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Hit Count by Chris Lynch High School   Algonquin   362 pp. 5/15   978-1-61620-250-7   $17.95   g e-book ed. 978-1-61620-490-7   $17.95 As a lowly freshman, junior varsity football player Arlo Brodie sets his future goals: varsity linebacker by sophomore year, then college ball for a Division One team, then the pros. After freshman year, Arlo works out like […]

Review of Dear Hank Williams

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Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt Intermediate   Holt   220 pp. 5/15   978-0-8050-8022-3   $16.99   g On the first day of school, September 1, 1948, eleven-year-old Tate P. Ellerbee learns that her class will be writing to pen pals, with her teacher explaining that “new worlds will unfold in front of you, and you’ll see your […]

What Makes a Good Nonfiction Adaptation?


In 1998, news anchor Peter Jennings and producer Todd Brewster created The Century, a hefty pictorial history covering pivotal events from the twentieth century related by those who had witnessed them. A year later, in collaboration with young-adult author background explanations were added in deference to younger readers whose limited experiential backgrounds might prevent comprehension […]

Review of Trombone Shorty

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Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews; illus. by Bryan Collier Primary   Abrams   40 pp. 4/15   978-1-4197-1465-8   $17.95 In New Orleans parlance, “Where y’at?” means “hello.” As an opening greeting (repeated three times, creating a jazzy beat), it also signals the beginning of this conversational and personable 
autobiography. Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, concentrates on his […]

Review of Star Stuff

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Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson; illus. by the author Primary   Roaring Brook   32 pp. 10/14   978-1-59643-960-3   $17.99 Beginning with the first page, Sisson showcases the magnitude of the universe, visually presenting the Milky Way and our sun’s place in it. Turn the page, and readers move […]

Review of Unbroken


Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from 
Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand; 
adapted by the author Middle School, High School   Delacorte   292 pp. 11/14   978-0-385-74251-1   $19.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-99062-5   $22.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-97565-2   $10.99 With media attention focused on the July 2014 death of Louis Zamperini, and Angelina Jolie’s upcoming movie detailing his […]