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Review of Gertie’s Leap to Greatness

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Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley; illus. by Jillian Tamaki Intermediate    Farrar    250 pp. 10/16    978-0-374-30261-0    $16.99    g Gertie Reece Foy lives with her great-aunt Rae in coastal Alabama while her kind and loving father, Frank, works on an oil rig. Her mother, Rachel, who left the family when Gertie was a baby, lives […]

Fantastical folklore

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The following works of folklore — a new Grimm like you’ve never seen, a Norwegian folk story in silly/creepy graphic novel form, a pourquoi tale done in Duncan Tonatiuh’s unmistakable visual style, and two classic reissues — feature fabulous and fantastical folk. In the hands of creative teachers, librarians, and parents, Shaun Tan’s The Singing […]

Historical horror stories

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History buffs and horror fans alike will appreciate these YA books about characters facing their own demons — of the metaphysical, metaphorical, or, most disturbingly, human varieties. In The Passion of Dolssa, author Julie Berry tells the story of (fictional) Catholic mystic Dolssa de Stigata after she escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 […]

Plum’s Creaturizer app review

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It’s that (internet) age-old problem: if kids are staring at screens, they aren’t playing outside. PBS Kids’s Plum’s Creaturizer app (2015; iOS and Android), follow-up to the Plum’s Photo Hunt app, attempts to combine techie-fun, some very early science, and outdoor play. According to the “For Parents” section, its aim is to help children “develop […]

Review of King Baby

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King Baby by Kate Beaton; illus. by the author Preschool    Levine/Scholastic    40 pp. 10/16    978-0-545-63754-1    $17.99    g Heavy is the head that wears the crown, but this ruler can’t yet support his own neck. A king (really a newborn baby) greets his loyal subjects (really relatives and friends of the family): “I am King Baby!…I […]

Help! My newborn hates to read.

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By now, we all know the benefits of reading to children from birth. The emotional bonding, the language development, the cognitive skills. Plus, there’s a sleep benefit, as Dr. Robert Needlman of Reach Out and Read discussed at the Horn Book’s Fostering Lifelong Learners symposium a few years ago. Tiny babies need to learn to […]

Books behaving badly

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Some books sit quietly and do what they’re told. Others seem to have minds of their own. The following picture books feature picture books themselves as the stars of the show. Ben, Bella, and Bella’s dog star in a new book — This Book Is Out of Control! — which is no better behaved than […]

Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app review

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Classic nursery rhymes meet interactive twenty-first-century technology in the Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app (ustwo, 2011; iOS only). Beginning with “Jack and Jill,” children can read and/or hear eight nursery rhymes and manipulate the characters and their props, sometimes in humorous ways — for example, swipe that pail of water up the well and a […]

International Primate Day

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For International Primate Day, here are a few books to get you in the swing of things. One Gorilla: A Counting Book by Anthony Browne; illus. by the author Preschool    Candlewick    32 pp. 2/13    978-0-7636-6352-0    $16.99 For Anthony Browne, a gorilla is never just a gorilla. In this seemingly simple counting book from one to […]

The Maine event

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The September/October 2016 Horn Book Magazine book review section features four books set in and around Maine: A quick Horn Book Guide Online keyword search on “Maine” showed that some other recent favorites are set in Vacationland. And there are many more! There must be something in the water. Sal would be proud.