Harriet and Me

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Where to begin with how important Harriet the Spy has been in my life? I guess I’ll have to start with my childhood. I was in fourth grade, at a school book fair. I’d forgotten to bring money that day, which was a problem because there was one book I was desperate to have. It […]

Divergent movie review

divergent poster

In the world of Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, the dystopian city of Chicago is run through a personality-based system of grouping. The five factions, to one of which every person belongs, are Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Abnegation, with its focus on humility and selflessness, acts as the political power; Amity, the good-natured, peaceful […]

Review of Eye to Eye

jenkins_eye to eye

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 4/14    978-0-547-95907-8    $17.99    g The origins of the eye lie in the need for animals to detect light, as Jenkins explains in the opening to this excellent presentation of the structures animals use to see. […]

Night of Cake & Puppets

taylor_night of cake and puppets

The last book in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, publishes today. In honor of that occasion — and in case you need something to tide you over (and excite you further) until you can get your copy of Dreams — here’s a review of Taylor’s digital original […]

Review of More of Monkey & Robot

catalanotto_more of monkey robot

More of Monkey & Robot by Peter Catalanotto; illus. by the author Primary    Jackson/Atheneum    58 pp. 3/14    978-1-4424-5251-0    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4424-5253-4    $9.99 Monkey and Robot are back (Monkey & Robot, rev. 1/13) in four stories for new readers. Monkey continues to make a mess, and Robot patiently helps him fix things. First Monkey worries […]

Review of You Can’t Have Too Many Friends!

gerstein_you can't have too many friends

You Can’t Have 
Too Many Friends! by Mordicai Gerstein; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 4/14    978-0-8234-2393-4    $16.95    g e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3101-4    $16.95 This retold French folktale (“Drakestail”) stars a farmer duck who, in this absurdist version, is wealthy in the jelly beans he has grown. When the little-boy king “borrows” his […]

The New Kid on the Block app review

new kid on the block cover

National Poetry Month is upon us, and this week’s app review comes from renowned children’s poet Jack Prelutsky. The New Kid on the Block (Wanderful Interactive Storybooks, 2013), an interactive poetry app based on Prelutsky’s book of the same name (HarperCollins, 1984), features eighteen poems, a cast of strangely delightful characters, and exuberant animations. From […]

Review of Firefly July

janeczko_firefly july2

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko; illus. by Melissa Sweet Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    48 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-4842-8    $16.99 Very short people attracted by Sweet’s child-friendly illustrations (and by the large picture book format) are likely to linger to enjoy the thirty-six excellent poems (grouped by season) showcased on […]

Review of Alien Encounter

harper_alien encounter

Alien Encounter [Sasquatch and Aliens] by Charise Mericle Harper; illus. by the author Intermediate    Ottaviano/Holt    205 pp. 4/14    978-0-8050-9621-7    $12.99    g Minutes after fourth graders Morgan and Lewis meet for the first time (underpants are involved), they share an alien sighting. This is obviously a solid basis for friendship, because they are practically inseparable in […]

Preview May/June Horn Book Magazine

May/June 2014 Horn Book Magazine

Harriet at 50: To mark the golden anniversary of Harriet the Spy, authors Jack Gantos and Megan McDonald, librarian Kathleen T. Horning, critic Betsy Hearne, editor Ginee Seo, and educator Cathryn M. Mercier reflect on Louise Fitzhugh’s groundbreaking 1964 novel. Borderlands: Deirdre F. Baker interviews author—and pilot!—Elizabeth Wein. Books in the Home: Megan Lambert’s reassuring […]