The Horn Book » Out of the Box http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:49:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Happy birthday, Harry! http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/happy-birthday-harry/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/happy-birthday-harry/#respond Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:48:56 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39686 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 […]

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harry birthday cake 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 blog posts about the series, including Roger Sutton’s breakdown of how it’s changed publishing.

 

Book reviews

Movie reviews

Editorials

mj12 Happy birthday, Harry!Articles

Blog posts

Recommended read-alikes list

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Harry Potter read-alikes http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/harry-potter-read-alikes/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/harry-potter-read-alikes/#respond Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:47:33 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39791 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 […]

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These titles — all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine — offer a mix of magic, adventure, humor, and suspense that will enchant Harry Potter fans.

duane so you want to be a wizard Harry Potter read alikesSo 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 young wizards, Nita and Kit, to keep the world from being overcome by the Prince of Darkness. This twentieth-anniversary edition of the first book in the series contains a new afterword and a short story about Nita and Kit, originally published in Jane Yolen’s anthology Dragons and Dreams.

jones charmed life Harry Potter read alikesCharmed Life, The Magicians of Caprona, Witch Week, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci, Conrad’s Fate, and The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones [The Chrestomanci Chronicles] (reissued by Greenwillow, 2001)
This series is linked by the character Chrestomanci, a magician with nine lives, whose charge is to maintain the balance of magic among parallel universes.

jones merlin conspiracy Harry Potter read alikesThe Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones (Greenwillow, 2003)
The story is narrated in alternating chapters by Roddy (a girl) and Nick. Roddy and a friend summon Nick, an unknown helper, when they discover that the Merlin (in charge of magic) has been murdered. Writing on an epic scale, the author deftly creates a fully realized fantasy universe with a series of worlds that resemble one another and our own but with distinct differences. This is a vastly absorbing story of good battling evil.

nix sabriel Harry Potter read alikesSabriel by Garth Nix (HarperCollins, 1995)
A compelling fantasy has for a heroine Sabriel, the daughter of the necromancer whose duty it is to protect the Old Kingdom: unlike other mages, he has the power to bind the dead as well as bring the dead back to life. The story is remarkable for the level of originality of the fantastic elements and for the subtle presentation, which leaves readers to explore for themselves the complex structure and significance of the magical elements. The story continues in sequels Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr and Abhorsen; a prequel, Clariel, will be published in October 2014.

prineas magic thief Harry Potter read alikesThe Magic Thief written by Sarah Prineas; illus. by Antonio Javier Caparo (HarperCollins, 2008)
Precocious pickpocket Conn becomes an apprentice to Nevery Flinglas, a wizard trying to stem the loss of magic from the city. Readers will find the familiar character types and straightforward plotting of this amiable tale (akin to that of another well-known boy wizard) easy to grasp, while the evolving conflicts and distinctive setting will draw them on.

rutkoski cabinet of wonders Harry Potter read alikesThe Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski [Kronos Chronicles series] (Farrar, 2008)
Petra Kronos’s father has magical abilities to construct creatures out of tin and to make a wondrous weather-controlling clock. When the prince of Bohemia blinds Kronos, cutting out his eyes and magicking them for his own use, Petra resolves to steal them back from the prince’s Cabinet of Wonders. Rutkoski’s bucolic old-world atmosphere keeps her workmanlike plotting feeling fresh and fortuitous. The story continues in sequels The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash.

stephens emerald atlas Harry Potter read alikesThe Emerald Atlas by John Stephens [Books of Beginning series] (Knopf, 2011)
Siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma discover a book that transports them back fifteen years in time. Thus begins their adventure with the Atlas, one of three Books of Beginning–powerful magical volumes whose secrets brought the universe to life. This imaginative and enjoyable series starter explores the bonds of family and magic while setting up an inevitable good-versus-evil showdown. The story continues in The Fire Chronicles.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/hungry-caterpillar-friends-play-explore-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/hungry-caterpillar-friends-play-explore-app-review/#respond Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:30:13 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39700 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 […]

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very hungry caterpillar menu The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends   Play & Explore app reviewDigital 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 with his books will recognize many characters including Mister Seahorse, the Very Quiet Cricket, Brown Bear, and of course, the Very Hungry Caterpillar. And for those users new to Carle’s work, the app serves as a broad introduction to his books.

The app’s main feature is a brief informational book, with eight “Did You Know?” spreads of facts about animals and plants. Each section is followed by a related narrated game, quiz, puzzle, or other activity: users feed the caterpillar (Fruit! Not “sweet treats”!), search for or identify animals (“Where is Brown Bear’s cub?”; “Who has a long horn on her head?”), collect berries and bugs, and grow their own flower from a tiny seed. Upon successful completion of each activity, users obtain badges (Quiz Whizz Badge, Sealife Spotter Badge, Puzzle Ace Badge, etc.).

very hungry caterpillar spread The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends   Play & Explore app review

very hungry caterpillar fruits The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends   Play & Explore app review

More activities are available with in-app purchases: a Jigsaw Puzzle Pack with three puzzles to complete (and four levels of difficulty for each puzzle); a spot-the-difference game; and a 3D Sticker Book Pack.

This visually stunning app offers plenty of opportunities for early childhood development, from counting and color/shape recognition to tackling more difficult concepts like memory, seek-and-find, and distinguishing differences. The instructions are easy to follow, the lively animation is responsive to users’ touch, and the app only requires simple tapping and swiping actions to use, making it a fully engaging experience for preschoolers. Options include a Read to Me, Read it Myself, or Autoplay feature, a music on/off switch, and five language choices (English, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese).

Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch (requires iOS 5.0 or later) and Android devices; $3.99. Recommended for preschool and primary users.

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Reading about WWI http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/recommended-books/reading-about-wwi/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/recommended-books/reading-about-wwi/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:30:12 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39429 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 […]

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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

decker letter home Reading about WWIThe text of Timothy Decker’s unusual picture book The Letter Home is a letter from a medic serving on the front lines during World War I to his young son back at home. A mood of sometimes ironic calm pervades both the spare, observant letter and the laconic black-and-white drawings, which depict the terrors of war in childlike terms: “Sometimes we played hide and seek.” It’s not clear who this book’s audience will be, but it deserves one. (Boyds Mills/Front, 2005)

knit your bit Reading about WWIMikey’s mother and sister are knitting for the troops in Deborah Hopkinson’s Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story; asked to join them, Mikey proclaims: “No way! Boys don’t knit.” Then Mikey’s teacher encourages students to participate in the Central Park Knitting Bee, and Mikey enlists his fellow boys. Heavy on olive and khaki, Steven Guarnaccia’s illustrations indicate the WWI setting but also capitalize on white space, giving readers room to consider the book’s themes. (Putnam, 2013)

Lewis Soldiers 232x300 Reading about WWIJ. Patrick Lewis offers a fictionalized account of the 1914 Christmas Truce of World War I in a picture book for middle-grade readers, And the Soldiers Sang. A Welsh soldier relates how British and German troops facing each other in trenches of the Western Front ceased their fighting on Christmas Day to engage in songs and friendly games. Gary Kelley’s dark, somber pastel illustrations add intensity to this moving story. (Creative Editions, 2011)

mccutchen christmas in the trenches Reading about WWIThe story of the same unofficial World War I Christmas truce is narrated by a grandfather and illustrated with Henri Sørensen’s eloquent oil paintings in Christmas in the Trenches. The bleakness of the trenches is balanced by author John McCutcheon’s emphasis on the indomitable spark of humanity. Based on the author’s 1984 folk song, the book displays a gentle and moving example of how to create peace. An author’s note, musical score, and CD are included. (Peachtree, 2006)

williams archies war Reading about WWIArchie Albright, protagonist of Marcia Williams’s Archie’s War, keeps a scrapbook/journal from 1914 to 1918; he collects his own comics and commentary, letters and postcards, newspaper clippings, and trading cards. Readers will be drawn in by the collage format. The satisfyingly busy pages provide much to pore over, unfold, and lift up, as well as a glimpse into life on the home front during World War I. (Candlewick, 2007)

 

Fiction

angus soldier dog Reading about WWIIn Sam Angus’s novel Soldier Dog, Stanley watches his beloved brother go off to war and then suffers from his father’s angry bouts with grief. Determined Stanley vows to protect his puppy, Soldier, from his father, and to reconnect with his brother. Stanley secures a spot in the military’s messenger dog service where he and the unit’s clever canines provide readers with a unique perspective on the Great War. (Feiwel, 2013)

boyne stay where you are and then leave Reading about WWIFour years ago, nine-year-old Alfie Summerfield’s dad, Georgie, went off to fight in WWI. For a while, letters from Georgie came regularly. Then they stopped altogether. Now Alfie (accidentally) learns that Georgie is in a nearby hospital, suffering from shell-shock. The third-person limited narration of John Boyne’s Stay Where You Are & Then Leave keeps readers experiencing events solely from Alfie’s intelligent but childlike point of view. (Holt, 2014)

fox dogs of war Reading about WWINathan Fox and Sheila Keenan present three stories of dogs who were active participants in wars in their wrenching graphic novel Dogs of War. Fox’s illustrations highlight the chaos and grimness of war, and the text, though sometimes dense, is overall well balanced with the art. A powerful author’s note, compelling stories, and the heroism of these dogs will likely inspire and move readers. (Scholastic/Graphix, 2013)

frost crossing stones Reading about WWIIn 1917, neighboring families face a sea of troubles. Two sons enlist in WWI; a suffragist aunt goes on a hunger strike; a seven-year-old daughter nearly dies from influenza. In Crossing Stones, Helen Frost reveals her story through tightly constructed poems. The discipline of the form mitigates against sentimentality, and the distinct voices of the characters lend immediacy and crispness to the tale. (Farrar/Foster, 2009)

hamley without warning Reading about WWIDennis Hamley’s Without Warning: Ellen’s Story takes place in World War I England as rigid class and gender boundaries begin to crumble. Teenage Ellen moves from her home to work at an estate, then turns to nursing in London, and finally to overseas duty at a French field station. Not even a fairy-tale ending can diminish this poignant and insightful historical novel told from Ellen’s first-person point of view. (Candlewick, 2007)

hartnett silver donkey Reading about WWIIn Sonya Hartnett’s The Silver Donkey, a provocative and elegantly honed tale about war’s toll on innocents, sisters Coco, eight, and Marcelle, ten, discover an English soldier hiding near their French village. They bring the WWI deserter food; he tells them allegorical stories inspired by a silver donkey given to him by his terminally ill brother. Occasional full-page black-and-white art by Don Powers deftly suggests setting and mood. (Candlewick, 2006)

morpurgo medal for leroy Reading about WWIA tale about family secrets and well-intentioned lies, Michael Morpurgo’s A Medal for Leroy is inspired by the real-life experiences of the first black British Army officer, who was prejudicially denied a medal for his actions during WWI. Though the focus of the book is on family relationships and the stories people invent to protect their loved ones, Morpurgo also offers an understated, unexpectedly gentle meditation on prejudice. (Feiwel, 2014)

moss winnies war Reading about WWIWith a difficult grandmother and a troubled mother, Winnie’s family life is challenging. But when the Spanish influenza hits in 1918, Winnie’s first priority is protecting them. The fear and desperation resulting from pandemic illness ring true in Jenny Moss’s Winnie’s War as the heroine faces her limitations, accepts uncontrollable events, and discovers a future for herself. An author’s note gives more history. (Walker, 2009)

obrien day of the assassins Reading about WWIJack Christie and his best friend Angus are caught up in the plot to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Having traveled through time to 1914 Sarajevo, the two become pawns in a struggle between competing factions. They must grapple with preserving or changing history and facing the resultant implications for the future. In Day of the Assassins, author Johnny O’Brien provides a fast-paced combo of speculative and historical fiction. (Candlewick/Templar, 2009)

sedgwick foreshadowing Reading about WWIIn Marcus Sedgwick’s The Foreshadowing, seventeen-year-old Sasha is a half-trained British nurse cursed with the ability to foresee imminent death. She runs away and follows her brother to the front, intent on saving him after a vision of his demise. An ongoing exploration of contemporary reactions to shell shock during World War I complements the plot and enriches Sasha’s character, and the clever conclusion is both surprising and apt. (Random House/Lamb, 2006)

slade megiddos shadow Reading about WWIAfter his older brother dies in combat, Edward, a sixteen-year-old Saskatchewan farm boy, lies about his age and enlists. He sees action in Palestine; it’s here that the horrors of the Great War are most graphically described. Arthur Slade puts an original spin on the experience of a young man going to war in his novel Megiddo’s Shadow. (Random House/Lamb, 2006)

westerfeld leviathan Reading about WWIScott Westerfeld’s Leviathan features a mix of alternative history and steampunk. As WWI breaks out, Prince Aleksandar and his advisers flee to the Swiss Alps. Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp, disguised as a boy, is aboard the British airship Leviathan, which crashes near Alek’s estate. As the two meet and begin the complicated dance of diplomacy, the story and characters come to life. Black-and-white illustrations by Keith Thompson capture Westerfeld’s complex world. Sequels Behemoth (2010) and Goliath (2011) continue the tale. (Simon Pulse, 2009)

 

Nonfiction

bausum unraveling freedom Reading about WWIAnn Bausum provides an informative overview of America’s involvement in WWI in Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During World War I. She discusses President Wilson’s fight to enact laws against “anti-American” activities as an example of how political leaders during a national crisis have attempted to restrict personal freedom in the name of patriotism. Illustrations, photographs, and notes enhance the succinct text. A “Guide to Wartime Presidents” chart is appended. (National Geographic, 2010)

freedman war to end all wars Reading about WWIWith an abundance of historical photographs and a characteristically lucid, well-organized text, Russell Freedman’s The War to End All Wars: World War I documents the history of the First World War: from its tangled beginnings, through years of stalemate, to the collapse of empires and uneasy peace, and ending with a brief description of the rise of Hitler. Freedman’s narrative, dedicated to his WWI veteran father, is dramatic and often heart-wrenching. (Clarion, 2010)

murphy truce Reading about WWIThe first part of Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting by Jim Murphy sparely and effectively outlines the causes of the Great War. Murphy then moves into a close-up view of the trenches before providing an account of the 1914 Christmas Truce. This historical background gives the truce emotional resonance; the subsequent carnage is all the more sobering in contrast. Plentiful photographs and period illustrations convey the paradoxes well. (Scholastic, 2009)

Walker BlizzardGlass 237x300 Reading about WWIOn December 6, 1917, two ships headed for WWI-ridden Europe — one carrying relief supplies, the other carrying an extraordinary amount of explosive munitions — collided in the Halifax, Canada harbor. Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 author Sally M. Walker sets the stage, then focuses on five families that lived in the waterfront neighborhoods. Through their eyes, we experience the explosion, devastating aftermath, and eventual rebuilding. Numerous black-and-white photographs, plus a couple of welcome maps, further chronicle events. (Holt 2011)

Don’t miss Touch Press’s nonfiction WWI Interactive app (2012), reviewed here.

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Frog Fridays booklist http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/recommended-books/frog-fridays-booklist/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/recommended-books/frog-fridays-booklist/#respond Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:00:06 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39520 Leapin’ lizards! (Oh, wait.) Here are some nonfiction books and picture books about our “phavorite” amphibians. Nonfiction Arnosky, Jim All About Frogs 32 pp. Scholastic 2002. ISBN 0-590-48164-9 (Gr. K-3) This book informs with a definition of amphibians, the differences between frogs and toads, identifying markings on various species, anatomical features, habits, and how frog […]

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Leapin’ lizards! (Oh, wait.) Here are some nonfiction books and picture books about our “phavorite” amphibians.

Nonfiction

arnosky allaboutfrogs Frog Fridays booklist Arnosky, Jim All About Frogs
32 pp. Scholastic 2002. ISBN 0-590-48164-9
(Gr. K-3) This book informs with a definition of amphibians, the differences between frogs and toads, identifying markings on various species, anatomical features, habits, and how frog spawn develop into frogs. The well-organized expository prose lends itself to reading aloud, with each double-page spread covering a topic. The detailed captions may be lost on groups, but the diagrammatic illustrations offer much to contemplate.

bishop Frogs Frog Fridays booklistBishop, Nic Frogs
48 pp. Scholastic 2008. ISBN 978-0-439-87755-8
(Gr. K-3) This informative book covers anatomical, behavioral, and reproductive facts. On each spread, one of the sentences is in larger type, serving as a highlight of main ideas and a pointer to the accompanying captioned photograph–the real star of the show. The pictures are stunningly crisp and beautifully reproduced. At book’s end, Bishop explains the extensive work involved in his nature photography. Glos., ind.

cowley red eyedtreefrog Frog Fridays booklistCowley, Joy Red-Eyed Tree Frog
32 pp. Scholastic 1999. ISBN 0-590-87175-7
(Preschool) Photographs by Nic Bishop. Startlingly close-up photographs of rainforest fauna depict the nocturnal adventures of a red-eyed tree frog. The simple, aptly paced text relates the hungry frog’s search for a meal and his close encounters with dangerous predators, and an accessible afterword provides a good overview of facts on the subject. The engaging narrative and captivating pictures are perfectly attuned to the preschool audience–a rare and noteworthy find in nonfiction.

pfeffer fromtadpoletofrog Frog Fridays booklistPfeffer, Wendy and Keller, Holly From Tadpole to Frog
32 pp. HarperCollins 1994. ISBN 0-06-023044-4 LE ISBN 0-06-445123-2 PE ISBN 0-06-023117-3
(Gr. K-3) Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. This lovely introduction sketches the most basic aspects of frog life–the laying and hatching of eggs, the stages of growth, eating and the danger of being eaten, and hibernation. Pleasing views of plants and animals sharing the pond environment are rendered in bold economy. The text’s clarity and shape make the book an inviting read-aloud science lesson.

turner Frogscientist Frog Fridays booklistTurner, Pamela S. The Frog Scientist
58 pp. Houghton 2009. ISBN 978-0-618-71716-3
(Gr. 4-6) Photographs by Andy Comins. Scientists in the Field series. Readers are introduced to Dr. Tyrone Hayes, who studies the effects of pesticides on frog development. Hayes travels to a pond research site and back to his laboratory, explaining step by step the careful procedures his team follows. Sharp, vivid photographs alternate between portrayals of the scientists–at work and relaxing–and abundant images of the frogs they study. Websites. Bib., glos., ind.

Picture Books

cooper frog Frog Fridays booklistCooper, Susan Frog
32 pp. McElderry (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing) 2002. ISBN 0-689-84302-X
(Preschool) Illustrated by Jane Browne. “Little Joe couldn’t swim….[He] just didn’t get it.” The boy finds the inspiration and gentle encouragement he needs when he rescues a frog trapped in his family’s swimming pool. Little Joe’s involvement in Frog’s small drama shifts the boy’s focus off of himself and his imagined limitations. Both text and art are stripped down to the essentials, with short, simple sentences and uncomplicated, expressive paintings telling the story.

french growing frogs Frog Fridays booklistFrench, Vivian Growing Frogs
32 pp. Candlewick 2000. ISBN 0-7636-0317-1
(Gr. K-3) Illustrated by Alison Bartlett. A mother and daughter gather frog spawn from a pond to observe the metamorphosis from egg to tadpole to frog. While French provides step-by-step guidance for gathering and observing frog spawn, there’s enough detail for a vicarious scientific experience. Bartlett’s use of multiple frames showing frog development paces the action while allowing enough detail for small, but important, changes. Ind.

hassett Too Many Frogs Frog Fridays booklistHassett, Ann and Hassett, John Too Many Frogs!
32 pp. Houghton 2011. ISBN 978-0-547-36299-1
(Gr. K-3) Illustrated by John Hassett. No sooner has the plumber de-flooded Nana Quimby’s cellar than frogs emerge…first ten, then twenty, thirty (count ‘em), and more. For each escalation, children playing outside have a solution (e.g., put them in a goldfish bowl). The ultimate answer? Re-flood the cellar. Delicious to look at–with its explosion of acrobatic frogs, primitivist-detail décor, and confectionery colors–and a treat to listen to.

heo thegreenfrogs Frog Fridays booklistHeo, Yumi The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale
32 pp. Houghton (Houghton Mifflin Trade and Reference Division) ISBN 0-395-68378-5
(Gr. K-3) Two frogs enjoy always doing the opposite of what their mother asks. Years later she finally catches on and asks to be buried by the stream instead of in the sun. Remorseful, they obey her last request, only to fear that her grave will wash away–which is why frogs cry by the side of streams whenever it rains. Too mischievous to be morbid, this quirky ‘pourquoi’ tale features quaint, comic illustrations.

kimura 999 Frog Fridays booklistKimura, Ken 999 Frogs Wake Up
48 pp. North-South 2013. ISBN 978-0-7358-4108-6
(Preschool) Illustrated by Yasunari Murakami. Time to check in with the tadpoles-turned-frogs that we left in a pond in 999 Tadpoles. It’s the following spring and the baby frogs are popping up out of the mud while Mother Frog tries to take inventory. Neon green endpapers springboard us into clean white pages that provide an inviting stage for waves of energetic lumpy froglets cunningly arranged and rearranged.

kimura 999tadpoles Frog Fridays booklistKimura, Ken 999 Tadpoles
48 pp. North-South 2011. ISBN 978-0-7358-4013-3
(Preschool) Illustrated by Yasunari Murakami. When 999 tadpoles transform into 999 frogs, things get crowded. Relocation across the field proves hazardous when a hungry hawk nabs Father. Mother’s quick thinking saves the day as she grabs onto Father, and all the young frogs link up in turn. There’s not a word misplaced in the spare and funny text, and the illustrations are full of lively movement and personality.

meyer frog Frog Fridays booklistMayer, Mercer Frog Goes to Dinner
32 pp. Dial 2003. ISBN 0-8037-2884-0 (Reissue, 1974)
Mayer, Mercer Frog on His Own
32 pp. Dial 2003. ISBN 0-8037-2883-2 (Reissue, 1973)
Mayer, Mercer and Mayer, Marianna One Frog Too Many
32 pp. Dial 2003. ISBN 0-8037-2885-9 (Reissue, 1975)
(Preschool) Each of these wordless books about the adventures of a boy and a rambunctious frog is a tiny masterpiece of storytelling, with expressive characters and easy-to-follow action. Thankfully, no attempt was made to change the cozy trim size, colorize the art, or–heaven forbid–add words to these reissues.

wiesner tuesday Frog Fridays booklistWiesner, David Tuesday
32 pp. Clarion 1991. ISBN 0-395-55113-7
(Gr. K-3) A surreal, almost wordless picture book shows the mysterious levitation of lily pads and frogs from a pond one Tuesday at dusk. The frogs soar around town until they fall to the ground at sunrise. Large, detailed watercolors use dramatic points of view and lighting effects and often show a humorous range of expressions. There is a forecast of further surprises to come on following Tuesdays.

willems citydog Frog Fridays booklistWillems, Mo City Dog, Country Frog
64 pp. Hyperion 2010. ISBN 978-1-4231-0300-4
(Gr. K-3) Illustrated by Jon J Muth. The dog and frog of the title become friends over the course of three seasons, but when the dog returns in winter, the frog is not to be found. This story of a friendship cut short by mortality is economically told and bittersweet; its atmosphere is matched by Muth’s paintings of the two at play in a glorious country landscape.

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Shout Science! app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/shout-science-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/shout-science-app-review/#respond Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:33:08 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39593 Shout Science! (Scott Dubois, 2013) is a comic-style nonfiction app that tells three stories of figures from the European Scientific Revolution. The first biography follows Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717), a watercolor painter and insect collector in Frankfurt, Germany. Merian observed the life cycle of butterflies, including metamorphosis, and documented it in two books she wrote […]

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shout science menu Shout Science! app reviewShout Science! (Scott Dubois, 2013) is a comic-style nonfiction app that tells three stories of figures from the European Scientific Revolution.

The first biography follows Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717), a watercolor painter and insect collector in Frankfurt, Germany. Merian observed the life cycle of butterflies, including metamorphosis, and documented it in two books she wrote and illustrated (1679 and 1705). She traveled to Suriname to study indigenous insects and collect specimens there — the first woman to embark upon a scientific research expedition.

The second subject is Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) who, in 1674 in Delft, Holland, developed the first microscope strong enough to see microbes. Others balked at van Leeuwenhoek’s claim of tiny “animalcules” present in water, saliva, and other fluids, but after he published his methods, a scientist named Robert Hooke was able to reproduce van Leeuwenhoek’s results and thus corroborate his findings.

shout science anton Shout Science! app review

The final scientist profiled here is James Hutton (1726-1797), now known as the “Father of Modern Geology.” Hutton observed fossils of marine life in the stones near his home in Edinburgh, Scotland. After further research, in 1788 he published his theory that the earth is millions of years old (at the time the earth’s age was believed to be approximately 6000 years). He also developed theories about the earth’s internal structure and the formation and erosion of rock.

All three scientists faced ridicule and even ostracism from their colleagues, but their theories — and the evidence proving them — were eventually accepted by the scientific community.

The comic format gives the app a friendly feel: the engaging stories are illustrated with rounded, cheery art and punctuated with humorous (usually purposely anachronistic) asides and sound effects. The is no overall narration, but users can tap an icon to hear the scientists’ names pronounced and to hear brief excerpts of their writing read aloud. Each bio is accompanied by a “more info” section, which includes a portrait, a more detailed timeline, a list of important people and places in the scientist’s life, definitions of key concepts of the discovery, and a bibliography. Intuitive navigation allows the biographies to be accessed either from a timeline (where they are included with other significant scientific achievements of the era) or from a map of Europe.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 6.1 or later); free. Recommended for primary and intermediate users.

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And straight on ’til morning http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/straight-til-morning/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/straight-til-morning/#respond Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:41:49 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39551 The other day my friend’s four-year-old daughter asked me, “Guess what I wished for?” I was a little nervous about this — after all, isn’t it bad luck to tell others your wish? — but she insisted. “A puppy? A pony? A baby elephant?” “No, it wasn’t an animal at all. It was the second […]

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finding neverland musical And straight on til morningThe other day my friend’s four-year-old daughter asked me, “Guess what I wished for?”

I was a little nervous about this — after all, isn’t it bad luck to tell others your wish? — but she insisted.

“A puppy? A pony? A baby elephant?”

No, it wasn’t an animal at all. It was the second star to the right!” I didn’t follow this logic, so she patiently(ish) explained, “I wished to go to Neverland!” Well, obviously. What a dumb grown-up moment.

Brand-new musical Finding Neverland, based on the 2004 Johnny Depp movie about author J.M. Barrie and his friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family, opens tomorrow at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater. I should probably go and get back in touch with my inner lost kid.

What’s your favorite Peter Pan adaptation? Hook will always have my heart. (Bangerang!)

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Kidlit crafts http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/kidlit-crafts/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/kidlit-crafts/#respond Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:30:41 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39443 Lately I’ve been drooling over the craft tutorials at EPBOT: Geekery, Girliness, and Goofing Off, another blog written by Jen Yates, mastermind behind the genius and hilarious Cake Wrecks. (If you’re not familiar with Cake Wrecks, start with “Grammar geeks, UNITE!” and gorgeous children’s lit cakes.) EPBOT is pretty much what it sounds like from […]

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Lately I’ve been drooling over the craft tutorials at EPBOT: Geekery, Girliness, and Goofing Off, another blog written by Jen Yates, mastermind behind the genius and hilarious Cake Wrecks. (If you’re not familiar with Cake Wrecks, start with “Grammar geeks, UNITE!” and gorgeous children’s lit cakes.) EPBOT is pretty much what it sounds like from the subtitle: tutorials for geeky, non-geeky, and home decor DIY projects; links to other geeky content (check out this Hobbit-themed birthday party); ooh, shiny! jewelry pictures; and cat pictures. In other words, awesome.

I’m geeky and crafty, but not frequently at the same time, so it’s nice to have some guidance in how to combine the two. I love how nerdy Jen’s tutorials are — both in aesthetic (with their geek culture content) and in approach (detail-oriented, thorough, efficient, authentic to the source material). They seem pretty idiot-proof, too, although I haven’t tried any myself yet… I can’t decide where to start! Here a few kidlit-related projects; click on the pictures for links to the tutorials:

epbot white rabbit mask and watch Kidlit crafts

White Rabbit steampunk mask and pocketwatch

epbot wands Kidlit crafts

LED light-up wizard wands…

epbot wand display Kidlit crafts

…and, of course, an Olivander wand display

epbot death eater mask Kidlit crafts

Deatheater masks (don’t you kinda want to be a Deatheater now?)

epbot frog and toad purse Kidlit crafts

book purse dos and don’ts

Now that I’m done fangirling over a fellow fangirl, I want to know: have you made any crafts inspired by favorite books?

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Links we love http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/twitter-link-roundup/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/twitter-link-roundup/#respond Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:50:42 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39474 We’re on Twitter — follow us @HornBook (and Roger Sutton at @RogerReads), then come say hi! This week we shared these kidlit-related links: Beautiful Propaganda Posters Honor the Districts in The Hunger Games (Design Taxi) Classic Kids’ Books Cakes (Cake Wrecks) Ten Things that Make an Editor Stop Reading Your Manuscript (Elizabeth Law Reads blog) […]

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madeline cake Links we love

amazing Madeline cake by My Sweet Indulgence, via Cake Wrecks

We’re on Twitter — follow us @HornBook (and Roger Sutton at @RogerReads), then come say hi! This week we shared these kidlit-related links:

Beautiful Propaganda Posters Honor the Districts in The Hunger Games (Design Taxi)

Classic Kids’ Books Cakes (Cake Wrecks)

Ten Things that Make an Editor Stop Reading Your Manuscript (Elizabeth Law Reads blog)

J.K. Rowling Live-Blogged The Quidditch World Cup Final and It Is Magical (BuzzFeed)

Literature’s John Hughes: Rainbow Rowell on Her Love Affair with Music and Writing (BuzzFeed)

Great Children’s Books Author Bake-Off (The Guardian)

The Abhorsen’s Seven Bells Charms

Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and More Authors Dress as Their Favorite Characters (Nerdist)

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Catchy titles http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/catchy-titles/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/catchy-titles/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38865 I was entering some new book titles into our database this morning and ran across the late, great Walter Dean Myers’s novel On a Clear Day (Crown, September 2014). Now for the last hour I’ve had Barbra Streisand in my head singing “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” from the musical and film […]

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myers on a clear day Catchy titlesI was entering some new book titles into our database this morning and ran across the late, great Walter Dean Myers’s novel On a Clear Day (Crown, September 2014). Now for the last hour I’ve had Barbra Streisand in my head singing “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” from the musical and film (starring Babs, of course) of the same name.

This got me thinking about other book titles I’ve run across over the years that also automatically make me think of a song title or lyric I know well — and then inevitably get stuck in my head all day:

Out of My Mind (Atheneum) by Sharon M. Draper / “Out of My Head” by Fastball

Across the Universe (Razorbill/Penguin) by Beth Revis / “Across the Universe” by The Beatles

I’ll Be There (Little, Brown) by Holly Goldberg Sloan / “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5 and by Mariah Carey (With this one, I end up with a mash-up of the two versions in my head!)

Stars (Beach Lane/Simon) by Mary Lyn Ray; illus. by Marla Frazee / “Stars” from Les Miserables

Stay with Me (Dial) by Paul Griffin / “Stay with Me” from Into the Woods

The Space Between (Razorbill/Penguin) by Brenna Yovanoff / “The Space Between” by Dave Matthews Band

How to Save a Life (Little, Brown) by Sara Zarr / “How to Save a Life” by The Fray

Just Call My Name (Little, Brown) by Holly Goldberg Sloan / “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5 and by Mariah Carey andAin’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

I inherited this habit from my musically-inclined mother who, any time she hears a line from a song she knows, will break out into song. But I’m sure we’re not the only ones who do this. What children’s book titles remind you of a song title or lyric?

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