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Review of Anything but Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide 
Herrmann, Queen of Magic

rockliff_anything-but-ordinary-addie

Anything but Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide 
Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff; 
illus. by Iacopo Bruno Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    48 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-6841-9    $17.99 Rockliff and Bruno (Mesmerized, rev. 1/15) bring the now-all-but-forgotten female magician Adelaide Herrmann back to center stage. Bold and spunky, Addie, in Rockliff’s strikingly vivid depiction, was […]

Review of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill Intermediate, Middle School    Algonquin    388 pp. 8/16    978-1-61620-567-6    $16.95 Every year, the people of the Protectorate steel themselves for the Day of Sacrifice, when the elders take the city’s youngest baby and leave it in the woods to appease the witch — a witch no one […]

Review of Rescue Squad No. 9

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Rescue Squad No. 9 by Mike Austin; illus. by the author Preschool    Random    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-101-93662-7    $16.99    g As in Fire Engine No. 9 (rev. 9/15), Austin live-streams an intense rescue mission, immediately pulling readers into the action. His dynamic illustrations and forceful text are skillfully incorporated in a propulsive, left-to-right design that telegraphs […]

Melody Jams app review

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Similar in structure to Toca Boca’s Toca Band (but both a little less substantial and a little less…out there), Melody Jams (Melody Jams Inc., April 2016; iOS only) lets you rock out with your own hand-picked backup band. Fill up to five band spots by selecting from twelve monster musicians on instruments such as guitar, […]

Review of Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West

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Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West by Candace Fleming Middle School, High School    Porter/Roaring Brook    259 pp. 9/16    978-1-59643-763-0    $19.99    g Fleming (Amelia Lost, rev. 3/11; The Family Romanov, rev. 7/14) sets her sights on two connected myths of American history: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s life story and the American […]

Review of Fuzzy

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Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    256 pp. 8/16    978-1-4197-2122-9    $14.95 Life quickly gets complicated for seventh-grader Max Zelaster the day she meets Fuzzy, the first robot student at Vanguard Middle School. Designed to use fuzzy logic (hence his name), Fuzzy can think for himself and update his own programming. […]

Listening in on the past

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These engaging audio productions of four excellent historical nonfiction titles give teens another entry point into the profound (and profoundly personal) tales of courage and determination they relate. Steve Sheinkin‘s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War uses Ellsberg as a focal point to tell the story of the Vietnam […]

Graphic novels that grab you

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These new graphic novels — two fairy-tale retellings, a mistaken-identity high-seas adventure, and a magical-realism ghost story — will captivate intermediate and middle-school readers. At the start of Mighty Jack, young Jack, while visiting a flea market with his single mother and younger sister Maddy (who does not speak), foolishly trades the family car for […]

Books behaving badly

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Some books sit quietly and do what they’re told. Others seem to have minds of their own. The following picture books feature picture books themselves as the stars of the show. Ben, Bella, and Bella’s dog star in a new book — This Book Is Out of Control! — which is no better behaved than […]

Friends to the animals

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The following chapter books feature kids — and kids at heart — whose animal-loving ways lead to beautiful interspecies friendships. In Frances O’Roark Dowell’s Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan, seven-year-old Sam Graham is too young to have a real job. But when neighbor Mrs. Kerner tries to hire Sam’s too-busy older sister to […]