Recommended Books

Promoting good books for children and young adults is the heart of The Horn Book’s editorial mission. Archived here are annotated lists of recommended titles.

Review of Buried Sunlight

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Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have 
Changed the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm; illus. by Molly Bang Primary    Blue Sky/Scholastic    48 pp. 9/14    978-0-545-57785-4    $17.99    g In the latest of Bang and Chisholm’s excellent books on the role of the sun’s energy in powering life processes on Earth (Living Sunlight, rev. 5/09; Ocean […]

Review of The Madman of Piney Woods

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The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis Intermediate, Middle School   Scholastic    370 pp. 9/14    978-0-545-15664-6    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-63376-5    $16.99 In this companion to Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton (rev. 11/07), it is now 1901, and for thirteen-year-old Benji Alston of Buxton, Ontario, the American Civil War is ancient history — […]

Review of Quest

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Quest by Aaron Becker; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-6595-1    $15.99 Journey (rev. 9/13) introduced a girl with a magic red crayon who could draw her way into an adventure and back home. At the end of the book she met a boy with his own purple crayon. Quest — the […]

Review of At Home in Her Tomb

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At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui by Christine Liu-Perkins; 
illus. by Sarah S. Brannen Intermediate, Middle School    Charlesbridge    80 pp. 4/14    978-1-58089-370-1    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-615-9    $9.99 Late in 1971, workers digging an air-raid shelter in Hunan Province found three tombs of a noble family from early […]

Review of Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, 
and Other Tourist Attractions

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Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, 
and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look; illus. by LeUyen Pham Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    163 pp. 8/14    978-0-385-36972-5    $15.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-36973-2    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-449-81986-9    $7.99 Alvin Ho, who’s afraid even when safe at home, faces previously unknown fears when his […]

Review of My Teacher Is a Monster! 
(No, I Am Not.)

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My Teacher Is a Monster! 
(No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 7/14    978-0-316-07029-4    $18.00 From the cover, it is clear that Bobby and his teacher do not agree: “My Teacher Is a MONSTER!” says Bobby in a giant word balloon; Ms. Kirby replies, “No, I […]

Snark Week

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In honor of Shark Week, here’s a list of recent YA books featuring sharp-tongued narrators with biting wit. (Thanks to WE television network, home of Will & Grace reruns, for giving us this idea for “Snark Week.”) Hattemer, Kate The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy Middle School, High School    Knopf    327 pp. 4/14 978-0-385-75378-4 […]

Review of Brave Chicken Little

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Brave Chicken Little retold by Robert Byrd; 
illus. by the reteller Preschool, Primary    Viking    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-670-78616-9    $17.99    g The chick is not just a witless wonder in this expansion of the familiar folktale. Bopped on the head by an acorn, this Chicken Little does rush off to tell the king that “the sky […]

World Elephant Day 2014

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To celebrate World Elephant Day (August 12, 2014), here are some books about those larger-than-life creatures, with reviews from The Horn Book Guide Online. Picture Books Bunting, Eve Tweak Tweak 40 pp. Clarion 2011. ISBN 978-0-618-99851-7 (Preschool) Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. “‘Hold on to my tail, Little Elephant,’ Mama Elephant said. ‘…If you want to […]

For not-rotten new readers

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Following your dreams and dealing with family: these topics get hilarious treatment for primary readers in the following early chapter books. An added bonus? Some familiar faces from popular series. In Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel’s Rotten Ralph’s Rotten Family, the titular kitty finds a family photo album and, nostalgic for his childhood, decides to […]