Middle-grade BFFs

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The friends you make in childhood can be the best ones of your life. The following books highlight unlikely friendships that are made to last.    Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Madman of Piney Woods (companion to Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton) takes place in 1901, with the American Civil War a not-so-distant memory for […]

Nature lovers

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Back-to-school blues? Give kids these engaging science books — which introduce primary readers to intriguing animals, habitats, natural processes, and conservation causes — to pique scientific curiosity and fuel imagination. Katherine Roy’s Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands examines the sometimes chilling, always fascinating details of what makes the great […]

Review of This Is Dalí, This Is Pollock, and This Is Warhol

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This Is Dalí by Catherine Ingram; 
illus. by Andrew Rae Middle School, High School     Laurence King/Chronicle     80 pp. 5/14    978-1-78067-109-3    $15.95         This Is Pollock by Catherine Ingram; 
illus. by Peter Arkle Middle School, High School    Laurence King/Chronicle    80 pp. 5/14    978-1-78067-346-2    $15.95         This Is Warhol by Catherine […]

Review of Egg & Spoon

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  Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire Middle School    Candlewick    479 pp. 9/14    978-0-7636-7220-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7582-0    $17.99 An imprisoned man tells his story, Scheherazade-like, in letters to the tsar. He begins with Elena, a young girl in the impoverished Russian countryside who is nursing her dying mother and who has witnessed her brother […]

Review of I’m My Own Dog

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I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-6139-7    $15.99 “I’m my own dog. Nobody owns me. I own myself.” This independent, self-starter narrator looks down on ordinary pups, the ones owned by people. This dog will not sit for anyone, even if a bone […]

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 […]