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Deirdre Baker

About Deirdre Baker

Deirdre F. Baker, a reviewer for The Horn Book Magazine and the Toronto Star, teaches children’s literature at the University of Toronto. The author of Becca
at Sea (Groundwood), she is currently at work on a sequel—written in the
past tense.

Review of The One Memory of Flora Banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr High School    Philomel    296 pp. 5/17    978-0-399-54701-0    $17.99 Ever since, as she’s been told, Flora had a brain tumor removed when she was eleven, she’s been unable to make new memories. She can remember things for only a few hours and must negotiate her life by […]

Review of Thick as Thieves

Thick as Thieves [Queen’s Thief] by Megan Whalen Turner Middle School, High School    Greenwillow    339 pp.    g 5/17    978-0-06-256824-3    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-256825-0    $18.89 e-book ed.  978-0-06-256827-4    $9.99 Turner’s eagerly awaited fifth Queen’s Thief novel (beginning with The Thief, rev. 11/96) displays in full her many fortes: ingenious […]

Review of Bull

Bull by David Elliott High School    Houghton    188 pp. 3/17    978-0-544-61060-6    $17.99    g There’s little grand or heroic in Elliott’s clever verse version of the classical story of the Minotaur: its title, Bull, is topically and colloquially apt. The story unrolls in the voices of seven characters, each with his […]

Review of The Silver Gate

The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey Intermediate, Middle School    Tegen/HarperCollins    313 pp. 1/17    978-0-06-239857-4    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-239859-8    $9.99 In Elric’s superstitious feudal village, people think children born with disabilities are changelings; even worse, that they bring down a curse on the community. That’s why Elric’s mother and younger sister, Wynn, with her strange […]

Review of The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz; illus. by Hatem Aly Middle School, High School    Dutton    365 pp. 9/16    978-0-525-42616-5    $17.99    g An ambitious mash-up of medieval saints’ lives, the Joan of Arc legend, thirteenth-century French history, and elements of The Canterbury Tales, Gidwitz’s hopeful story of […]

Review of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill Intermediate, Middle School    Algonquin    388 pp. 8/16    978-1-61620-567-6    $16.95 Every year, the people of the Protectorate steel themselves for the Day of Sacrifice, when the elders take the city’s youngest baby and leave it in the woods to appease the witch — a witch no one […]

Review of A Most Magical Girl

A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee Intermediate    Knopf    297 pp. 8/16    978-0-553-51285-4    $16.99 Library ed    978-0-553-51286-1    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-553-51287-8    $10.99 Annabel is outraged when her mother removes her from her conventional young ladies’ school, sets her up as an assistant in her great-aunts’ magic shop, and promptly disappears. But the tears and […]

Review of Grayling’s Song

Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman Intermediate    Clarion    210 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-30180-1    $16.99    g Cushman’s previous works (The Midwife’s Apprentice, rev. 7/95; Will Sparrow’s Road, rev. 11/12; etc.) fall into the realm of historical fiction; this novel is historically based but a fantasy, set in a culture inspired by, but not wedded to, medieval Europe. It’s […]

Review of The Passion of Dolssa

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry Middle School, High School    Viking    482 pp. 4/16    978-0-451-46992-2    $18.99    g Berry (All the Truth That’s in Me, rev. 11/13) tells the story of (fictional) Catholic mystic Dolssa de Stigata after she escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 Toulouse, France; mostly, however, it’s the story of […]

Review of A Song for Ella Grey

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond High School   Delacorte   268 pp. 10/15   978-0-553-53359-0   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-53360-6   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-53361-3   $10.99 A celebration of the wonderful madness of youth, and of the bemusing, soul-confusing power of aesthetic experience, lies at the heart of Almond’s lyrical, contemporary-set take on the myth of Orpheus […]