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Books behaving badly


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


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 […]

Books mentioned in the September 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Vera Brosgol Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, Roaring Brook/First Second, 12–16 years. Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol, Roaring Brook, 5–8 years. Books behaving badly This Book Is Out of Control! by Richard Byrne, Holt, 4–7 years. We’re in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne, Holt, 4–7 years. This Book Just Ate […]

How I Discovered Young Adult Poetry – The Zena Sutherland Lecture

Marilyn Nelson

A couple of weeks ago, at a dinner with several poets, one of them said, “You’re lucky, Marilyn: you know how to write poems for the young adult audience.” I laughed and told him he was entirely wrong. I have absolutely no idea how to write for the young adult audience. I just write what […]

Review of Leave Me Alone!

brosgol_leave me alone

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol; illus. by the author Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-62672-441-9    $17.99 Graphic novelist Brosgol (Anya’s Ghost, rev. 7/11) makes an impressive picture-book debut with this inventive story about an old woman’s quest to knit in peace. The tale begins with traditional narrative trappings: “Once there was an old […]

Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app review


Classic nursery rhymes meet interactive twenty-first-century technology in the Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app (ustwo, 2011). Beginning with “Jack and Jill,” children can read and/or hear eight nursery rhymes and manipulate the characters and their props, sometimes in humorous ways — for example, swipe that pail of water up the well and a fish pops […]

A Second Look: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


It was one of those rickety paperback book racks that creak when you turn it. It listed to one side, so I made sure to stand on the side it was leaning away from, in order to see the books better. Spin. Creak. Spin. Creak. I’d read most of these books already. But I had […]

Review of In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives


In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis Middle School    Holt    279 pp. 9/16    978-1-62779-311-7    $17.99 Best known for his Don’t Know Much About History titles, Davis here presents another view of the American past, bringing to light the stories of five enslaved […]

Review of Snow White

phelan_snow white

Snow White by Matt Phelan; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    216 pp. 9/16    978-0-7636-7233-1    $19.99 Phelan has visited the 1930s Dust Bowl in The Storm in the Barn (rev. 11/09), early-1900s vaudevillian Buster Keaton in Bluffton (rev. 11/13), and late-nineteenth-century explorers in Around the World (rev. 11/11). Here he heads off to […]

Review of Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

pak_goodbye summer hello autumn

Goodbye Summer, 
Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak; illus. by the author Preschool    Holt    32 pp. 8/16    978-1-62779-415-2    $17.99    g “Hello, late summer morning,” says a young girl in a red scarf as she leaves her house on a double-page spread suffused in soft greens. She greets the trees, a variety of animals, flowers, thunder, and […]