Choosing Books

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

Harry Potter read-alikes

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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. 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 […]

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore app review

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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 […]

Review of Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

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Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox; illus. by Brian Floca Preschool, Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    48 pp. 5/14    978-0-375-85888-8    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95888-5    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-375-98769-4    $10.99 Renowned long-distance swimmer Cox here celebrates a swimmer of a different species: a twelve-hundred-pound elephant seal that preferred the warm banks of the Avon River […]

Review of Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight

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Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer; 
illus. by Elise Gravel Primary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    101 pp. 4/14    978-0-316-24319-3    $14.99 Paper ed.  978-0-316-24320-9    $5.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-24321-6    $5.99 “Take Your Kid to Work Day” will never again be the same for Archie. He has been waiting “eight years, eight months, and […]

Chicks ‘n ducks ‘n geese

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We’re off tomorrow to spend a few days with the Sendak Fellows, Nora Krug and Harry Bliss, at a farm Maurice owned in upstate New York. (Why did he need a farm? Did he need a place to get away from it all from his place to get away from it all in the wilds […]

Reading about WWI

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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 The text of Timothy Decker’s unusual picture book The Letter […]

Review of I Can Do It Myself

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I Can Do It Myself by Valorie Fisher; 
photos by the author Preschool, Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp. 7/14    978-0-449-81593-9    $17.99    g Tiny poseable dolls help young children celebrate the many concepts they need to learn. Fisher (Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five, rev. 7/11) includes the basics for preschoolers and kindergartners: […]

Frog Fridays booklist

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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 […]

Shout Science! app review

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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 […]

Review of Little Roja Riding Hood

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Little Roja Riding Hood by Susan Middleton Elya; 
illus. by Susan Guevara Primary    Putnam    32 pp. 4/14    978-0-399-24767-5    $16.99    g Little Red rides an ATV to deliver la canasta (basket) to her ailing abuela in this hip updated version of the traditional tale. Liberally sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases, the rhyming text is fresh […]