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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 […]

Review of The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán”

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The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán” by Jo Ellen Bogart; 
illus. by Sydney Smith Preschool, Primary    Groundwood    32 pp. 3/16    978-1-55498-780-1    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-781-8    $16.95 Perhaps best known to us now through Barber and Auden’s song “The Monk and His Cat” (there is also a YA novel […]

Review of Hare and Tortoise

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Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 5/16    978-0-7636-8721-2    $16.99 With warm, lively digital art and snappy narrated text, this new rendition of Aesop’s famous race will make a funny and satisfying read-aloud for both those familiar with the fable and those coming to it for the […]

Review of Every Single Second

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Every Single Second by Tricia Springstubb; illus. by Diana Sudyka Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    360 pp. 6/16    978-0-06-236628-3    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-236630-6    $9.99 Nella Sabatini’s life is largely centered on her tight-knit Italian American family, including her harried mother, her cemetery-groundskeeper father, her four unruly younger brothers, and her crotchety great-grandmother, Nonna. But […]

Fathers, sons, and grandfathers

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The bonds between a son and his father or grandfather can be strong yet complicated. The following books offer middle schoolers a glimpse into some tricky, loving family relationships. In Kwame Alexander‘s verse novel Booked (a companion in structure and theme to his 2015 Newbery Award–winning The Crossover), eighth grader Nick Hall is quite a […]

Party animals

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Newly independent readers will go wild for these animal adventures with a hearty helping of wacky, slapsticky humor. A Goofy Guide to Penguins by twin-brother team Jean-Luc Coudray and Philippe Coudray supplies “everything you never, ever asked about penguins!” In an early-reader, four-panels-per-spread graphic-novel format, young Emperor penguins ask and answer silly questions: “How do […]

Arts and letters

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STEM’s great and all, but these picture-book biographies — about two fine artists, a musician, and a wordsmith — show that a career in arts and letters can be more than just a dream. In Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois, Amy Novesky presents an exquisite portrait of modern artist Louise Bourgeois, who […]

YA with pride

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June is LGBT Pride Month. Before, during, and after the parades have been attended and the rainbow cakes baked, readers can find queer-centric tales of love, struggle, and discovering one’s identity in the following books. It’s Pride Week in San Francisco in Nina LaCour and David Levithan’s You Know Me Well, and high-school seniors Mark […]

RIP Ali

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He was the greatest. Remember The Champ with these biographies, all recommended at their time of publication by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide. Reviews reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Online. Primary Bolden, Tonya  The Champ: The Story of Muhammad Ali Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Knopf     2004 Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. This carefully […]

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

Five questions for Tim Federle Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle, Simon, 8–12 years. Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle, Simon, 8–12 years. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle, Simon, 14 years and up. YA with pride You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, St. Martin’s Griffin, 14 years […]