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Horn Book Fanfare 2016

Horn Book Fanfare Our choices for the best books of 2016

Welcome to Horn Book Fanfare! Chosen annually by our editors, Fanfare is The Horn Book Magazine’s selection of the best children’s and young adult books of the year. Here you’ll find picture books about a grouchy grandma, a school that’s nervous about its first day, and two written in alien languages. You can read nonfiction […]

Review of Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist by Susan Wood; illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 9/16    978-1-58089-673-3    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-825-2    $9.99 Growing up in Mexico, Juan Garcia Esquivel got an earful of mariachi, but he wanted to create his own sound. Self-taught and persistent, he was playing piano at a radio station at […]

Saving Sisters: Little Women, The Hunger Games, and Frozen

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Those who treasure Little Women often praise the rebel at its center or its theme of sisterhood. Louisa May Alcott helped build domestic realism with a novel set largely around a Massachusetts hearth during the Civil War, but she also might be credited with having the audacity to write a book in which young women […]

Review of Goldenhand

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Goldenhand [Old Kingdom] by Garth Nix Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    345 pp. 10/16    978-0-06-156158-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-221678-6    $10.99 In this fifth installment in the series, Sabriel, the Abhorsen, is on a much-needed holiday, and it falls to Abhorsen-in-Waiting Lirael to investigate when her friend (and love interest) Nicholas Sayre sends word of an […]

Review of The Branch

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The Branch by Mireille Messier; illus. by Pierre Pratt Primary    Kids Can    32 pp. 9/16    978-1-77138-564-0    $16.95 A little girl mourns when a large branch breaks off from her favorite tree during an ice storm: “That was the branch I sat on, jumped from, played under. It was my castle, my spy base, my ship…” […]

Recommended Picture Books: Picture Books for Older Readers

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Coy, John  Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Carolrhoda Illustrated by Randy DuBurke. Coy tells the dramatic story of an illegal, secret basketball game in Jim Crow–era North Carolina between the white Duke University Medical School team and the black North Carolina College of Negroes team. The succinct narrative […]

Recommended Picture Books: Picture Book Biographies

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Barton, Chris  Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Charlesbridge Illustrated by Don Tate. Barton follows African American inventor Johnson, from his childhood tinkering through winning first place at a 1968 science fair, attending Tuskegee Institute, engineering for NASA, and developing a super-blast water gun. Barton describes Johnson’s ups and downs […]

Recommended Picture Books: Metafictive Picture Books

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Barnett, Mac  How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story Gr. K–3     48 pp.     Disney/Hyperion Illustrated by Adam Rex. Barnett and Rex tongue-in-cheekily describe the process of creating a book. “Ideas can come at funny times,” muses Barnett, shown as a cartoon character arm-wrestling a tiger. It only gets wackier from there, as […]

Books mentioned in the December 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?

What Makes a Good Picture Book? Wordless Picture Books Becker, Aaron  Return Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Candlewick     2016 ISBN 978-0-7636-7730-5 Boyd, Lizi  Flashlight Preschool     40 pp.     Chronicle     2014 ISBN 978-1-4521-1894-9 Cole, Henry  Spot, the Cat Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Little Simon     2016 ISBN 978-1-4814-4225-1 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-4226-8 Idle, Molly  Flora and […]

Recommended Picture Books: Wordless Picture Books

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Becker, Aaron  Return Gr. K–3    40 pp.     Candlewick This third wordless installment (Journey; Quest) brings the story full circle. The father of the lonely girl with a red crayon follows her into the steampunk-meets-fantasy kingdom to share in the adventure. Becker is at his best creating lush, mysterious landscapes. Return‘s plot is, happily, […]