May/June 2015 special issue, making the sausage

May/June 2015 Horn Book Magazine

Here’s the May/June 2015 Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Transformations all laid out. It’s a good one! Look for it in your mailbox later this month, or subscribe now.

Hat Monkey app review

hat monkey menu

Let me say straight out that I don’t like monkeys. But I set my personal primate feelings aside to look at app Hat Monkey (2014), trusting in both creator Chris Haughton and developer Fox & Sheep — whose Nighty Night I liked a lot — to provide an enjoyable experience. Happily, the breakdancing, “meep-meep!”-ing Monkey soon […]

Review of The Grasshopper & the Ants

pinkney_grasshopper and the ants

The Grasshopper & the Ants by Jerry Pinkney; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Little, Brown   40 pp. 4/15   978-0-316-40081-7   $18.00   g Moving right up Maslow’s hierarchy of 
needs, Pinkney transforms Aesop’s harsh 
fable about the consequences of improvi
dence into one celebrating the value of the arts. Unlike his true-to-species characters in his Caldecott-winning The […]

Review of Shh! We Have a Plan

haughton_shh-we-have-a-plan

 Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton; illus. by the author Preschool    Candlewick    40 pp. 9/14    978-0-7636-7293-5    $15.99 With cover art recalling Ungerer’s The Three Robbers (rev. 6/62) and the wry sensibility of Klassen’s Hat books, this is a natural choice for any storytime. A spare, humorous text pairs with blocky digital illustrations to […]

Review of The Penderwicks in Spring

birdsall_penderwicks in spring

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall Intermediate   Knopf   339 pp. 3/15   978-0-375-87077-4   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-97077-1   $19.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-97459-4   $10.99 In this fourth Penderwicks book, time has passed and the family landscape has changed. Mr. Penderwick has married the lovely Iantha; Rosalind is away at college; and Skye is fending off best […]

Books mentioned in the April 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Nikki Grimes Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon, Lee & Low, 5–8 years. A Pocketful of Poems by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Javaka Steptoe, Clarion, 5–8 years. Versatile verse Wonton and Chopstick by Lee Wardlaw, illus. by Eugene Yelchin, Holt, 5–8 years. A Poem in Your Pocket […]

Life, death, and football

smith_alex crow

Gritty and intense but also full of heart and hope, each of these four YA novels stars a teenage boy facing some of life’s most serious challenges. Andrew Smith follows his 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award–winning Grasshopper Jungle with the similarly multilayered, ambitious novel The Alex Crow. Fifteen-year-old war refugee Ariel lived through the bombing […]

Fearless females

springstubb_moonpenny island

From an aspiring journalist to an up-and-coming roller derby grrl, the determined and curious female protagonists of these intermediate and middle-school books are ready to take on the world. In Tricia Springstubb’s Moonpenny Island, the titular tiny Ohio vacation spot is lousy with fossils — specifically, of trilobites from the Cambrian period. Sixth-grade townie Flor […]

The early bird

konnecke_you can do it, bert

After a long, hard winter, spring has finally returned. With it come our little feathered friends — and picture books about them. In Ole Könnecke’s humorous, cheering picture book You Can Do It, Bert!, a small red bird walks out to the end of a slender tree branch, trepidation written all over his face. “This […]

Versatile verse

wardlaw_won ton and chopstick

National Poetry Month (better known as April) celebrates a form that can be used in myriad ways to explore any topic imaginable. Here are two collections of poems with themes in common, and two books that use poetry to help tell a larger story. A kitty named Won Ton makes his second appearance in Lee […]