Reviews of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling; illus. by Mary Grandpré Levine/Scholastic Reviewed 1/99 Orphaned Harry Potter has been living a dog’s life with his horrible relatives. He sleeps in the broom cupboard under the stairs and is treated as a slave by his aunt and uncle. On his eleventh birthday, mysterious […]

Review of This One Summer

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This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki; illus. by Jillian Tamaki Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    320 pp. 5/14    978-1-59643-774-6    $17.99 Rose Wallace and her parents go to Awago Beach every summer. Rose collects rocks on the beach, swims in the lake, and goes on bike rides with her younger “summer cottage friend,” Windy. But this […]

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

Five questions for Varian Johnson The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson, Scholastic/Levine, 12–16 years. Middle-grade capers Skies Like These by Tess Hilmo, Farrar, 10–13 years. Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chicken by Julie Mata, Hyperion, 10–13 years. I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora, Roaring Brook, 12–16 years. The Vigilante Poets of […]

Review of Jake at Gymnastics

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Jake at Gymnastics by Rachel Isadora; illus. by the author Preschool    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp. 6/14    978-0-399-16048-6    $14.99    g As she did with Bea at Ballet (rev. 7/12), Isadora shows a group of roly-poly toddlers enjoying a beginning class, this time in gymnastics, with an Asian American boy as the focus. Teachers Dave and Toshi lead […]

Review of The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra

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The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 5/14    978-0-7636-5806-9    $15.99    g Jazz pioneer and self-proclaimed space case Sun Ra (born Herman P. Blount) gets a portrait as bemusing and sparkly as the man himself in this fantastical tribute. Raschka begins […]

Review of Fiendish

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Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff High School    Razorbill/Penguin    341 pp. 6/14    978-1-59514-638-0    $17.99    g Yovanoff (The Space Between, rev. 1/12; Paper Valentine, rev. 3/13) here weaves a haunting tale of old magic in a changing world. When Clementine was a child, a torch-bearing mob burned out her family; Clementine escaped by virtue of a magical coma […]

Review of Thank You, Octopus

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Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell; illus. by the author Preschool    Dial    40 pp. 6/14    978-0-8037-3438-8    $16.99    g “Bedtime, ahoy,” Octopus declares. His young shipmate isn’t thrilled. “Aw pickles.” Doting Octopus knows that a warm bath, cozy jammies, and a favorite story can help make the end-of-the-day transition easier, and he’s all prepared — in […]

Freedom Summer reading

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, the 1964 grassroots campaign to register black voters in Mississippi — the state with the lowest percentage of black voters registered and a history of disenfranchisement through intimidation and violence. These books about that significant and bloody summer are all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine […]

Review of A Pond Full of Ink

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A Pond Full of Ink by Annie M. G. Schmidt; trans. 
from the Dutch by David Colmer; illus. by Sieb Posthuma Intermediate    Eerdmans    40 pp. 3/14    978-0-8028-5433-9    $16.00    g A skinny, long-nosed poet fills his pen from the ink pond in his garden and offers the reader a selection of story poems featuring personalities old […]

Review of Chasing the Milky Way

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Chasing the Milky Way by Erin E. Moulton Intermediate, Middle School    Philomel    279 pp. 6/14    978-0-399-16449-1    $16.99    g Just-turned-twelve Lucy Peevey lives with her mom and sister in the Sunnyside Trailer Park. Though she thinks of it as “a black hole of a place,” it’s not all bad; next door is her best friend Cam, […]