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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 Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong

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Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong by Lesa Cline-Ransome; 
illus. by James Ransome Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 4/16    978-0-8234-3428-2    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3598-2    $16.95 Today’s child may know Louis Armstrong only as the trumpeter of “What a Wonderful World” or as a character in an old movie; the Ransomes’ newest […]

Review of Grayling’s Song

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Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman Intermediate    Clarion    210 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-30180-1    $16.99    g Cushman’s previous works (The Midwife’s Apprentice, rev. 7/95; Will Sparrow’s Road, rev. 11/12; etc.) fall into the realm of historical fiction; this novel is historically based but a fantasy, set in a culture inspired by, but not wedded to, medieval Europe. It’s […]

Review of The Moon’s Almost Here

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The Moon’s Almost Here by Patricia MacLachlan; 
illus. by Tomie dePaola Primary    McElderry    32 pp. 6/16    978-1-4814-2062-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-2063-1    $10.99 MacLachlan’s lyrical text combines with ethereal illustrations by dePaola in this simultaneously nostalgic and fresh bedtime book. A generous trim size gives dePaola ample space for the sky under which his characters, the […]

Review of Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin

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Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin by Matt Tavares; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    36 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-6823-5    $17.99    g In 1859, Jean François Gravelet — the Great Blondin — was the world’s greatest tightrope walker. Niagara Falls, then as now one of the world’s most breathtaking natural attractions, […]

Happy World Giraffe Day!

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It’s World Giraffe Day, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s “worldwide celebration of these amazing and much loved animals” and “annual event to raise support, create awareness and shed light on the challenges giraffes face in the wild.” Go donate to the GCF to help save giraffes, then meet some new (and very tall!) friends in the […]

Review of Somewhere Among

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Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu Intermediate    Dlouhy/Atheneum    441 pp. 4/16    978-1-4814-3786-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3788-2    $10.99 Japanese fifth-grader Ema and her pregnant mother must move to the other side of Toyko to stay for several months with Obaasan and Jiichan, Papa’s parents: Mom is weak with debilitating morning sickness, and Papa works long hours. No […]

Review of The Saddest Toilet in the World

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The Saddest Toilet in the World by Sam Apple; illus. by Sam Ricks Preschool     Aladdin/Simon     32 pp. 6/16     978-1-4814-5122-2     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-5123-9     $10.99 Potty training is serious business for all involved, but what of the unsung toilet? Does anyone consider its feelings? Apple and Ricks do just that in this laugh-out-loud respite from charts, […]

Review of The Best Man

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The Best Man by Richard Peck Intermediate, Middle School     Dial     232 pp. 9/16     978-0-8037-3839-3     $16.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-698-18973-7     $10.99 Rise and toast The Best Man, Peck’s story about Archer Magill, a boy growing from a raw dollop of kindergarten id into a functional middle-school kid, a budding citizen of the world. As a participant […]

Review of Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

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Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks by Skila Brown; illus. by Bob Kolar Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 3/16    978-0-7636-6543-2    $16.99 Brown begins this playful and illuminating collection by taking a bite out of the most infamous of these ocean predators, the great white shark: “you’re no bully, / just a big attention hog. So / move […]

Review of Summerlost

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Summerlost by Ally Condie Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    253 pp. 3/16    978-0-339-18719-3    $17.99    g A local theater festival sets the stage for YA author Condie’s (Matched and sequels) first middle-grade novel. Twelve-year-old Cedar Lee, her little brother Miles, and their mother settle into their new summer home in Iron Creek, “a small town in a […]