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 Winnie

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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker; illus. by Jonathan D. Voss Primary   Holt   32 pp. 1/15   978-0-8050-9715-3   $17.99 A real bear plays a part in Winnie-the-Pooh’s origin story: at the London Zoo, a bear named Winnie made such a strong impression on young Christopher Milne that he […]

Review of Gone Crazy in Alabama

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Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia Intermediate, Middle School   Amistad/HarperCollins   291 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-221587-1   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-221588-8   $17.89   g e-book ed. 978-0-06-221590-1   $9.99 Williams-Garcia says goodbye to the Gaither family (One Crazy Summer, rev. 3/10; P. S. Be Eleven, rev. 5/13) in this involving and emotional concluding installment. It’s been a year since […]

Review of Yard Sale

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Yard Sale by Eve Bunting; illus. by Lauren Castillo Primary   Candlewick   32 pp. 4/15   978-0-7636-6542-5   15.99   g In this straightforward, heartfelt story, hard economic times mean that Callie and her parents must move from their house into a small apartment. “Small but nice,” Callie’s mother tells her. The family must sell many of its things […]

Review of The Grasshopper & the Ants

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The Grasshopper & the Ants by Jerry Pinkney; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Little, Brown   40 pp. 4/15   978-0-316-40081-7   $18.00   g Moving right up Maslow’s hierarchy of 
needs, Pinkney transforms Aesop’s harsh 
fable about the consequences of improvi
dence into one celebrating the value of the arts. Unlike his true-to-species characters in his Caldecott-winning The […]

Review of The Penderwicks in Spring

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The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall Intermediate   Knopf   339 pp. 3/15   978-0-375-87077-4   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-97077-1   $19.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-97459-4   $10.99 In this fourth Penderwicks book, time has passed and the family landscape has changed. Mr. Penderwick has married the lovely Iantha; Rosalind is away at college; and Skye is fending off best […]

Review of Dinosaur vs. Mommy

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Dinosaur vs. Mommy by Bob Shea; illus. by the author Preschool   Disney-Hyperion   32 pp. 3/15   978-1-4231-6086-1   $16.99 In his sixth showdown, Shea’s feisty red dino challenges Mommy all day long. From “Mommy taking a quick shower!” to a trip to the store (“roar! cookies! roar! cereal! roar! chips!”) — poor Mommy doesn’t really stand a […]

Review of Please Excuse This Poem

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Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick High School   Viking   289 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01479-8   $16.99   g “Most poets begin writing poetry in secret.” Poet Carolyn Forché opens her introduction to this anthology of contemporary American poetry with a shout-out to young or burgeoning […]

Review of The Tight-Rope Walkers

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The Tight-Rope Walkers by David Almond High School   Candlewick   326 pp. 3/15   978-0-7636-7310-9   $17.99   g Dom is a clever, working-class boy from the north of England, beloved of his teachers, the hope of his parents. It’s the early 1960s, an optimistic period in British education, when the son of a shipbuilder could plausibly end up […]

Review of Use Your Words, Sophie!

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Use Your Words, Sophie! by Rosemary Wells; illus. by the author Preschool   Viking   24 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01663-1   $16.99   g Mouse-child Sophie uses lots of words. She welcomes her new baby sister home from the hospital in Jellyfish language (“Jubbabubba”); she growls that she’s “too big for naps” in Hyena language (“Grabvjkloz!”). But her distracted parents […]

Review of In Mary’s Garden

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In Mary’s Garden by Tina Kügler and Carson Kügler; illus. by the authors Primary   Houghton   32 pp. 3/15   978-0-544-27220-0   $16.99 As a girl, Mary “was happiest when her hands were busy making, building, creating things.” As she grew up and traveled around the world, those early interests developed into a love for art. She returns […]