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Reviews of the Week

Each week we publish three brand-new reviews of books people are — or should be — talking about. Look for recommended picture books on Mondays, fiction on Tuesdays, and nonfiction and poetry on Wednesdays.

Review of Flannery

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Flannery by Lisa Moore High School    Groundwood    272 pp. 5/16    978-1-55498-076-5    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-873-0    $16.95 Sixteen-year-old Flannery has a lot on her plate: she can’t afford her biology textbook (in fact, her free-spirited artist mother can’t even pay the utility bill), and her best friend Amber is unhealthily obsessed with a sketchy new boyfriend. […]

Review of Thunder Boy Jr.

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Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie; 
illus. by Yuyi Morales Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 5/16    978-0-316-01372-7    $17.99    g “I HATE MY NAME!” Why, Thunder Boy Smith complains, couldn’t he have been named “Sam” like his mother (Agnes) wanted? And why does he have to share his name with his father, Thunder Boy Smith […]

Review of Among a Thousand Fireflies

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Among a Thousand Fireflies by Helen Frost; photos by Rick Lieder Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 3/16    978-0-7636-7642-1    $15.99    g Frost and Lieder (Step Gently Out; Sweep Up the Sun) collaborate on a third picture book featuring a poem by Frost illustrated with Lieder’s luminous photographs, this time on the subject 
of fireflies. Frost’s short […]

Review of A Tangle of Gold

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A Tangle of Gold [Colors of Madeleine] by Jaclyn Moriarty Middle School, High School    Levine/Scholastic    470 pp. 4/16    978-0-545-39740-7    $17.99    g e-book ed. 978-0-545-77735-3    $17.99 Going into this final book in the trilogy set in two worlds (A Corner of White, rev. 5/13; The Cracks in the Kingdom, rev. 3/14), Moriarty left herself with an […]

Review of On the Farm, at the Market

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On the Farm, at the Market by G. Brian Karas; illus. by the author Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp. 4/16    978-0-8050-9372-8    $16.99 Karas divides his entertaining and enlightening behind-the-scenes story of a farmers’ market into two sections. The first, “On the Farm,” places a sunny focus on the daily grind that keeps three types of farms […]

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

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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

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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!

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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 […]

Review of Booked

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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 / […]