Review of Building Our House

building our house

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean; illus. by the author Primary    Farrar    48 pp. 1/13    978-0-374-38023-6    $17.99    g Drawing on childhood memories from his own family’s house construction (see author’s note), Bean creates an engaging story as well as a glimpse into a warm family setting. A little girl narrates, and her childlike voice provides […]

Review of Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

Electric Ben

Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd; illus. by the author Intermediate    Dial    40 pp. 9/12    978-0-8037-3749-5    $17.99 With a jacket showing Benjamin Franklin as a cross between a mad scientist and a superhero standing amid wild lightning bolts and surrounded by all manner of electrical devices, this book […]

Review of Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad

Unspoken by Henry Cole

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    40 pp. 11/12    978-0-545-39997-5    $16.99 This wordless picture book opens with a calm scene: a quilt hangs over a rural split-rail fence. A young girl enters the scene on the next double-page spread, leading a cow and watching a […]

Review of Machines Go to Work in the City

machines go to work in the city

 Machines Go to Work in the City by William Low; illus. by the author Preschool     Holt     32 pp. 6/12     978-0-8050-9050-5     $16.99 Books don’t get much better than this for machinery-loving preschoolers. Listeners are first introduced to a particular situation involving vehicles, from a garbage truck to a […]

Review of Penny and Her Doll

Penny and Her Doll by Kevin Henkes

Penny and Her Doll by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Primary    Greenwillow    32 pp. 8/12    978-0-06-208199-5    $12.99 Naming things, whether children, pets, or toys, is serious business, and in this follow-up to Penny and Her Song (rev. 3/12) Henkes doesn’t take that task lightly. Gram sends mouse Penny a doll: “The doll had pink […]

Review of The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems about the Presidents

The President's Stuck in the Bathtub by Susan Katz

The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems about the Presidents by Susan Katz; illus. by Robert Neubecker Primary, Intermediate Clarion 64 pp. 2/12 978-0-547-18221-6 $17.99 In forty-three poems, Katz gives each of our U.S. presidents their due. She concentrates on little-known facts (William McKinley taught his parrot “Yankee Doodle”) but often slips in sly political […]

An annotated Titanic bibliography

The Watch that Ends the Night

A hundred years ago, on April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage. Speaking for many, Don Brown concludes his account (see below) with these words: “Though gone from view, she remains fixed on the horizon of our imagination, where she steams endlessly, haunting us.” And for good reason. Swirling around the disaster […]

Review of Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

Titanic by Deborah Hopkinson

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    290 pp. 3/12    978-0-545-11674-9    $17.99 Hopkinson knows precisely what’s she doing in her coverage of the Titanic disaster: providing young readers with a basic introduction to the event without overdramatizing, drawing unwarranted conclusions, or prolonging the ordeal. She begins her account as the […]

Review of We March

We March

We March by Shane W. Evans; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp. 1/12    978-1-59643-539-1    $16.99 Many young children know there was a march on Washington a long time ago and that Martin Luther King Jr. gave a famous speech that day. Some know why the march took place; fewer still know […]

Review of Subway Story

Subway Story

Subway Story by Julia Sarcone-Roach; illus. by the author Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 10/11    978-0-375-85859-8    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95859-5    $19.99 Sarcone-Roach displays a discipline not always seen in books about the environment; she allows her theme of reuse and recycling to emerge naturally from a fine story and lets readers draw their own conclusions without […]