Choosing Books

Promoting good books for children and young adults is the heart of The Horn Book’s editorial mission.

Martha Speaks Story Maker app review

martha speaks title screen

Create customized stories and practice vocabulary with loquacious mutt Martha in PBS Kids’s Martha Speaks Story Maker app (2012). The main section of the app functions as a sort of Martha Speaks–themed MadLibs. Choose from four dog characters — Martha, Skits, Lily, and Pops — for your story’s star, then pick from two settings. These […]

Review of Out of the Woods

Out of the Woods

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event by Rebecca Bond; illus. by the author Primary   Ferguson/Farrar   40 pp. 7/15   978-0-374-38077-9   $17.99 Bond relates a story from 1914 Ontario, during her grandfather’s childhood, when he lived at a lakeside hotel run by his mother. Art and text describe young Antonio wandering the […]

Review of Sunny Side Up

holm_sunny side up

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; 
illus. by Matthew Holm; color by Lark Pien Intermediate   Graphix/Scholastic   218 pp. 9/15   978-0-545-74165-1   $23.99 Paper ed. 978-0-545-74166-8   $12.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-74167-5   $12.99 Set largely during the summer of 1976, this semiautobiographical graphic novel from the brother-and-sister team behind the Babymouse series includes an […]

From the Guide: YA Horror


This year’s “Horn BOO!,” our annual roundup of Halloween-y books, will satisfy the spook-loving picture-book set. Teen readers — those with a more mature taste in fright, greater immunity to fear, and, in some cases, seriously strong stomachs — should check out these horror novels from the spring and fall 2015 issues of The Horn […]

Rumpeta-ing through Reading: Picture Books for the Very Young

My daughter Emily has always been a reading omnivore: we have photos of her poring over books from the time she could first sit up. Everything was of interest: catalogs featuring photographs of children; books verging on toys, with flaps or holes or even wheels; concept books; story books. Gradually, certain authors and books became […]

Horn BOO! 2015

horn boo_day_carl's halloween

Don’t be frightened. The ten (not-so) terrifying tales reviewed by the Horn Book staff in our annual Halloween roundup are only make-believe. (Wait, what’s that behind you?) Carl’s Halloween by Alexandra Day; illus. by the author Preschool   Ferguson/Farrar   32 pp. 8/15   978-0-374-31082-0   $14.99 When Mom blithely announces that she’s going over to Grandma’s for a […]

Review of Waiting


Waiting by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool   Greenwillow   32 pp. 9/15   978-0-06-236843-0   $17.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-236844-7   $18.99   g Waiting is a huge part of every child’s life, and Henkes uses a light touch to address the topic. Five toys wait on a windowsill. An owl waits for the moon; a pig holding an […]

Editorial: Parents: A Vital Link

By Ethel L. Heins By now it is probably beating a dead horse to talk about the continuing downward trend of the verbal Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and to set forth the variety of factors on which to lay the blame. And it is also laboring the obvious to stress the fact that the reading […]

Letter from England: Dorothy Butler

By Aidan Chambers Every year our children’s book editors give the Eleanor Farjeon Award to someone they consider has performed outstanding services to children’s books. This year the recipient is Dorothy Butler. Two of her books will shortly reach you and will richly demonstrate why our editors felt they wanted to recognize this remarkable woman. […]

The Everything Machine app review

everything machine title screen

Much like in their Human Body app, Tinybop’s The Everything Machine (2015) provides an opportunity for experimental play and experiential learning. Here users set up virtual circuits between electrical components to accomplish tasks such as power a (digital) light bulb, play sound, or take a picture. The app makes the most of the device’s utilities […]