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 Winnie

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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker; illus. by Jonathan D. Voss Primary   Holt   32 pp. 1/15   978-0-8050-9715-3   $17.99 A real bear plays a part in Winnie-the-Pooh’s origin story: at the London Zoo, a bear named Winnie made such a strong impression on young Christopher Milne that he […]

Review of Gone Crazy in Alabama

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Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia Intermediate, Middle School   Amistad/HarperCollins   291 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-221587-1   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-221588-8   $17.89   g e-book ed. 978-0-06-221590-1   $9.99 Williams-Garcia says goodbye to the Gaither family (One Crazy Summer, rev. 3/10; P. S. Be Eleven, rev. 5/13) in this involving and emotional concluding installment. It’s been a year since […]

Review of Yard Sale

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Yard Sale by Eve Bunting; illus. by Lauren Castillo Primary   Candlewick   32 pp. 4/15   978-0-7636-6542-5   15.99   g In this straightforward, heartfelt story, hard economic times mean that Callie and her parents must move from their house into a small apartment. “Small but nice,” Callie’s mother tells her. The family must sell many of its things […]

Review of The Grasshopper & the Ants

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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

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 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

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]