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Choosing Books

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

Review of And Then There Were Four

And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin High School    Dial    416 pp. 6/17    978-0-8037-4072-3    $18.99 After a three-book detour through the fantasy genre (Impossible, rev. 9/08, and sequels), Werlin (The Rules of Survival, rev. 9/06) returns to her mystery/thriller roots for another psychological page-turner. Five students at a private boarding school are called together […]

Review of How It Feels to Be a Boat

How It Feels to Be a Boat by James Kwan; illus. by the author Preschool. Primary    Houghton    40 pp.    g 7/17    978-0-544-71533-2    $16.99 Kwan provides a warm, kooky existential exploration of what it means to be a someone. (The opening dedication “To Chloe: Welcome to Earth!” seemingly provides his motivation.) A second-person narrative speaks directly […]

Review of Forest World

Forest World by Margarita Engle Intermediate    Atheneum    195 pp.    g 8/17    978-1-4814-9057-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9059-7    $10.99 Eleven-year-old Edver wishes his cryptozoologist mother would pay attention to him, instead of traveling the world looking for rare creatures in danger of becoming extinct. Even when she’s home in Miami, she doesn’t seem to notice that Edver […]

Measure Up! app review

Measure Up! by PBS Kids (2016; iOS and Android) introduces concepts of measurement in a series of activities and videos based on its educational television shows. In a frame narrative, programming “hosts” Dot, Del, and Dee explore an island. Each of three locations on the island highlights a specific type of dimension measurement: “Treetop City” […]

Review of The Music of Life: Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano

The Music of Life: Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano by Elizabeth Rusch; illus. by Marjorie Priceman Primary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp. 4/17    978-1-4814-4484-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4485-9    $10.99 Readers take a journey to Italy during the closing years of the Renaissance to meet a man whose invention is better known than his […]

Review of It All Comes Down to This

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    368 pp.    g 7/17    978-0-544-83957-1    $16.99 The daughter of an art gallery–owning mother and a lawyer father, twelve-year-old Sophie has advantages most children her age do not. However, the summer of 1965 in Los Angeles brings challenges no amount of money can […]

Review of The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way)

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    48 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-31650246-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-50247-4    $9.99 Waking up on the title page, a little red cat spies the open door and heads out for some fun. […]

A Quick Way to Die: Humor in Translation

by Julia Marshall For humor to work, someone has to find it funny. There are many ways to kill a book, and trying to be funny and failing would be one of the quicker yet most painful. And that includes translated books. At Gecko Press here in Wellington, we handpick children’s books by some of […]

Netflix’s The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince is a book of philosophy as much as it is a story. Oh, things happen. An Aviator lands in the desert and meets a Little Prince who says he’s from another planet. The Prince tells him about his home planet, his journey among the asteroids, and the assorted characters […]

Review of The Memory of Things

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner High School    St. Martin’s Griffin    275 pp. 9/16    978-1-250-09552-7    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-250-09553-4    $9.99 It’s the morning of September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, and the first tower has just fallen. Sixteen-year-old Brooklynite Kyle, fleeing toward home, stumbles upon a teenage girl wearing a pair of costume wings […]