April is National Poetry Month

mcphail_my mother goose

Preschool-perfect nursery rhymes, a potpourri of new-reader-friendly seasonal verse, a presidential history lesson in rhyme, and a picture book biography about a famous poet — these new books offer unique avenues for celebrating National Poetry Month. Editor and illustrator David McPhail’s My Mother Goose: A Collection of Favorite Rhymes is an affable collection of sixty-three […]

YA fantasy you’ve been waiting for

moriarty_cracks in the kingdom

Every fantasy fan knows the exquisite agony of anticipating the next entry in a favorite series — particularly if that entry will be the last. These four new novels continue (and in some cases, complete) popular series. In The Cracks in the Kingdom, the follow-up to Jaclyn Moriarty‘s BGHB Fiction Award Honor book A Corner […]

Big-city picture books

jacobs_count on the subway

Visiting big cities can foster both excitement and anxiety. Whether young children are already well traveled or just curious about new places, these four picture books can provide them with excellent armchair tours of New York City and Europe. A little girl traveling on the subway counts from one (“1 MetroCard”) to ten (“10 friends […]

Books mentioned in the April 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Cynthia Leitich Smith Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, and Diabolical [Tantalize], all by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Candlewick, 13–16 years. Feral Nights and Feral Curse [Feral], both by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Candlewick, 13–16 years. YA fantasy you’ve been waiting for A Corner of White and The Cracks in the Kingdom [Colors of Madeleine], both by […]

Harriet and Me

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Where to begin with how important Harriet the Spy has been in my life? I guess I’ll have to start with my childhood. I was in fourth grade, at a school book fair. I’d forgotten to bring money that day, which was a problem because there was one book I was desperate to have. It […]

Review of Eye to Eye

jenkins_eye to eye

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 4/14    978-0-547-95907-8    $17.99    g The origins of the eye lie in the need for animals to detect light, as Jenkins explains in the opening to this excellent presentation of the structures animals use to see. […]

Review of More of Monkey & Robot

catalanotto_more of monkey robot

More of Monkey & Robot by Peter Catalanotto; illus. by the author Primary    Jackson/Atheneum    58 pp. 3/14    978-1-4424-5251-0    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4424-5253-4    $9.99 Monkey and Robot are back (Monkey & Robot, rev. 1/13) in four stories for new readers. Monkey continues to make a mess, and Robot patiently helps him fix things. First Monkey worries […]

Review of You Can’t Have Too Many Friends!

gerstein_you can't have too many friends

You Can’t Have 
Too Many Friends! by Mordicai Gerstein; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 4/14    978-0-8234-2393-4    $16.95    g e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3101-4    $16.95 This retold French folktale (“Drakestail”) stars a farmer duck who, in this absurdist version, is wealthy in the jelly beans he has grown. When the little-boy king “borrows” his […]

Review of Firefly July

janeczko_firefly july2

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko; illus. by Melissa Sweet Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    48 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-4842-8    $16.99 Very short people attracted by Sweet’s child-friendly illustrations (and by the large picture book format) are likely to linger to enjoy the thirty-six excellent poems (grouped by season) showcased on […]

Review of Alien Encounter

harper_alien encounter

Alien Encounter [Sasquatch and Aliens] by Charise Mericle Harper; illus. by the author Intermediate    Ottaviano/Holt    205 pp. 4/14    978-0-8050-9621-7    $12.99    g Minutes after fourth graders Morgan and Lewis meet for the first time (underpants are involved), they share an alien sighting. This is obviously a solid basis for friendship, because they are practically inseparable in […]