Review of I, Fly

heos_i fly

I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos; illus. by Jennifer Plecas Primary   Holt   40 pp. 3/15   978-0-8050-9469-5   $17.99   g An adorable fly — googly-eyed, fuzzy-bodied, and with a winning smile, as portrayed in Plecas’s funny but informative cartoon illustrations — makes a compelling argument for why he should […]

Review of Listen, Slowly

lai_listen slowly

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lại Intermediate, Middle School   Harper/HarperCollins   260 pp. 2/15   978-0-06-222918-2   $16.99 This second novel from National Book Award winner Lại (Inside Out and Back Again, rev. 3/11) grabs readers from the start. California girl Mai is on a plane, accompanying Ba, her grandmother, on a trip to Vietnam. Mai, who planned to […]

Board Book Roundup: Winter 2015 Edition

abbot_train

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, now published every season. You can find the previous installments here. Don’t miss Viki Ash’s primer “What Makes a Good Board Book?” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine. Train! by Judi Abbot Tiger Tales     24 pp. 3/15     […]

Review of Bird & Diz

golio_bird & diz

Bird & Diz by Gary Golio; illus. by Ed Young Primary   Candlewick   26 pp. 3/15   978-0-7636-6660-6   $19.99 An impressionistic story of a “be-bop-a-skoodley” friendship comes together in the juxtaposition of a series of opposites — rendering and abstraction, saturation and resistance, darkness and light — reflecting the special partnership of two distinct musical legends. Golio […]

From the Guide: Books to Fill the Gaps

ashburn_i had a favorite hat

In Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s Horn Book at Simmons keynote address, “Mind the Gaps,” she laments the shortage of good children’s books featuring African American protagonists. What is there consists largely of books about the African American historical experience, not “books with black characters experiencing what children of any culture might.” As Nelson asserts, though, “we […]

Review of Fatal Fever

jarrow_fatal fever

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow Intermediate, Middle School  Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills  176 pp. 3/15      978-1-62091-597-4     $16.95 In the second book by Jarrow about a deadly disease — Red Madness was the first — she takes on typhoid. At the turn of the twentieth century, typhoid was still very much […]

Review of Challenger Deep

Challenger Deep jacket

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman; illus. by Brendan Shusterman High School   HarperTeen   318 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-113411-1   $17.99   g e-book 978-0-06-223172-7   $9.99 This novel is a challenge to the reader from its first lines: author Shusterman takes us into the seemingly random, rambling, and surreal fantasies of fifteen-year-old Caden Bosch (yes, it makes sense to associate […]

Books mentioned in the March 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Neal Shusterman Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman, illus. by Brendan Shusterman, HarperTeen, 14 years and up. Truth, lies, and secrets Things I’ll Never Say: Stories of Our Secret Selves, ed. by Ann Angel, Candlewick, 12–16 years. There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake, Bloomsbury, 14 years and up. The Truth Commission by […]

About time

perrin_at the same moment, around the world

Concepts of time and time zones can be difficult to explain even without lost-hour fuzziness! Happily, the picture books and easy readers below (all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide) painlessly introduce these ideas to children in engaging ways. Preschool Durga Bernhard’s While You Are Sleeping: A Lift-the-Flap Book of […]

Review of Last Stop on Market Street

de la pena_last stop on market street

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña; illus. by Christian Robinson Primary     Putnam     32 pp. 1/15     978-0-399-25774-2     $16.99 CJ, a young black boy, has a flurry of questions for his grandmother one rainy day: “How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet?” […]