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Review of Prairie Dog Song: The Key to Saving 
North America’s Grasslands

roth_prairie dog song

Prairie Dog Song: The Key to Saving 
North America’s Grasslands by Susan L. Roth and Cindy 
Trumbore; illus. by Susan L. Roth Primary    Lee & Low    40 pp. 4/16    978-1-62014-245-5    $18.95    g Roth and Trumbore take off from the cumulative folk song “The Green Grass Grew All Around” to detail the plight of the prairie […]

Review of Raymie Nightingale

dicamillo_raymie nightingale

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo Intermediate    Candlewick    264 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-8117-3    $16.99    g When ten-year-old Raymie Clarke’s father runs away with a dental hygienist, Raymie has no idea how to take charge of her life. Her mother’s no help, and her father’s secretary simply assures her that “most things work out right in the end.” […]

Review of Horrible Bear!

spring_dyckman_horrible bear

Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman; 
illus. by Zachariah OHora Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 4/16    978-0-316-28283-3    $16.99 The action begins on the title-page spread, with a little red-haired girl standing on the bottom of the left-hand page. She’s flying a kite — and she’s frowning. The kite is high up in the sky, on […]

Review of Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

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Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka Primary, Intermediate     Roaring Brook    44 pp. 3/16     978-1-62672-236-1     $17.99     g Graphic design meets riddle meets visual wordplay in this collection of sturdy and joyful perspectives on the ordinary stuff of the world. Each of the twenty-one offerings consists of a one-word title and […]

Brave new worlds

bruchac_trail of the dead

Along with questions about technological and scientific advances, these recent YA novels — three sci-fi adventures and one science-centric historical fantasy — implicitly explore issues of social justice, inviting readers to think critically about our own world. Having escaped from prisonlike Haven in Killer of Enemies, a battle-hardened Lozen now leads her band of refugees […]

Twentieth-century friends

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Here are four works of historical fiction with vivid characters whose relationship with friends and family will draw middle-grade readers into their stories. In G. Neri’s Tru & Nelle, Truman, an eccentric Little Lord Fauntleroy aspirant, and Nelle, a feisty girl with a boyish haircut, strike up an unlikely and unshakable friendship in Depression-era Monroeville, […]

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

Five questions for Roxane Orgill Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill, illus. by Francis Vallejo, Candlewick, 6–9 years. A variety of verses When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano, illus. by Julie Morstad, Roaring Brook, 5–8 years. Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob […]

Look closely

isadora_i hear a pickle2

The following books encourage young children to use their powers of observation and look closely at the pages before them — and at the world around them. Starting with a clever, attention-grabbing title — I Hear a Pickle: (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) — Rachel Isadora’s book about the five senses is […]

A variety of verses

morstad_when green becomes tomatoes

Poetry can rhyme, or not. It can take interesting shapes, or just use straightforward lines. These collections for primary and intermediate readers are great examples of the many forms poetry can take. Look for our What Makes Good Poetry? newsletter in your inbox on April 27, 2016. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons […]

Review of Booked

alexander_booked

Booked by Kwame Alexander Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    314 pp. 4/16    978-0-544-57098-6    $16.99    g Eighth grader Nick Hall is quite a wordsmith, thanks largely to his father, a linguistics professor and the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, which Nick is required to read page by page: “You’re the only kid / on your block / […]