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 Won Ton and Chopstick

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Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw; illus. by Eugene Yelchin Primary   Holt   40 pp. 3/15   978-0-8050-9987-4   $17.99   g In this sequel to Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (rev. 3/11), the cautious kitty has another reason to be worried: an adorable new puppy. Won […]

Review of The Walls Around Us

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The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma High School   Algonquin   321 pp. 3/15   978-1-61620-372-6   $17.95   g e-book ed. 978-1-61620-486-0   $17.95 Orianna Speerling — the so-called “Bloody Ballerina” — is just fifteen when she is convicted of murdering two rival dancers. A month after her sentence begins, all forty-two girls interned at the Aurora Hills […]

Review of BirdCatDog

BirdCatDog

BirdCatDog [Three-Story Books] by Lee Nordling; illus. by Meritxell Bosch Primary    Graphic Universe/Lerner    32 pp. 11/14    Library ed.  978-1-4677-4522-2    $25.26 Paper ed.  978-1-4677-4523-9    $6.95 e-book ed.  978-1-4677-4524-6    $25.32 In this innovative wordless picture book told entirely through cartoon panels, three pets escape the ennui of domestication for brief, interconnected adventures in the wild. An introduction […]

Review of One Plastic Bag

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One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon Primary   Millbrook   32 pp. 2/15   Library ed. 978-1-4677-1608-6   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4677-6299-1   $19.99 In the 1980s in the cities of the Gambia, a switch from using baskets made of natural materials to non-biodegradable plastic bags led […]

Review of Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny

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Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman; illus. by the author Primary   Holt   128 pp. 10/14   978-0-8050-9970-6   $13.99 e-book ed. 978-0-8050-9972-0   $9.49 Young rabbit Isabel is known as Bunjitsu Bunny for her proficiency in martial arts class. Himmelman’s thirteen short, generously illustrated chapters relate Isabel’s adventures as she demonstrates that “bunjitsu is not just about […]

Review of Smick!

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Smick! by Doreen Cronin; illus. by Juana Medina Preschool, Primary   Viking   32 pp. 2/15   978-0-670-78578-0   $16.99   g With minimal text, a clever use of sight words and word families, and a bounty of playfulness, Cronin introduces preschoolers (and early readers) to their new best friend: good-natured, tail-wagging, droopy-eared dog Smick. A game of fetch between […]

Review of Tomboy

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Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   Zest Books   256 pp. 9/14   Paper ed. 978-1-936976-55-3   $15.99 e-book ed. 978-1-936976-56-0   $15.99 “When you don’t look or act like what everyone has been told is the norm, you get proverbially barfed on a lot.” In an often funny, sometimes […]

Review of Paper Things

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Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Intermediate, Middle School   Candlewick   378 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-6323-0   $16.99   g Before her death four years earlier, Ari and Gage’s mother had urged them to “stay together always.” Now it has been two months since nineteen-year-old Gage and eleven-year-old Ari left their overbearing guardian’s home to strike out on their […]

Review of Finding Spring

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Finding Spring by Carin Berger; illus. by the author Preschool   Greenwillow   32 pp. 1/15   978-0-06-225019-3   $16.99   g As the forest grows cold and most bears start to think about hibernating, a little bear named Maurice can only think about experiencing his first spring. His mother tries to settle him down (“‘Maybe you will dream about […]

Review of Welcome to the Family

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Welcome to the Family by Mary Hoffman; illus. by Ros Asquith Primary   Frances Lincoln   28 pp. 12/14   978-1-84780-592-8   $17.99 This chatty, informative book covers all the bases — and then some — in its survey of how families are made. Friendly cartoon illustrations highlight various permutations, from families formed by birth and adoption to foster […]