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 The Next Wave

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The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of 
the Oceans [Scientists in the Field] by Elizabeth Rusch Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    79 pp. 10/14    978-0-544-09999-9    $18.99 This entry in the excellent Scientists in the Field series describes a critical engineering challenge: the efficient capture of the energy produced by ocean waves and its […]

Review of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

farizan_tell me again how a crush should feel

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan High School    Algonquin    296 pp. 10/14    978-1-61620-284-2    $16.95    g e-book ed.  978-1-61620-435-8    $16.95 Sixteen-year-old Iranian American Leila Azadi is, in her own words, a “Persian scaredy-cat.” Afraid to tell her best friends and her conservative family that she is gay, Leila finds herself in […]

Review of Blizzard

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Blizzard by John Rocco; illus. by the author Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 11/14    978-1-4231-7865-1    $17.99 Rocco presents a story of New England’s blizzard of 1978, based on his own childhood experience. The same warm family feeling that permeates his Caldecott Honor book Blackout is here, but this time he sticks to a boy’s-eye view of […]

Review of My Grandfather’s Coat

aylesworth_my grandfather's coat

My Grandfather’s Coat retold by Jim Aylesworth; 
illus. by Barbara McClintock Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-439-92545-7    $17.99 Revisiting the Yiddish folksong celebrated in Simms Taback’s Caldecott-winning Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, Aylesworth extends its events over four generations, affording McClintock the opportunity to sample dress and households from the early twentieth century to […]

Review of Murilla Gorilla and the Hammock Problem

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Murilla Gorilla and the Hammock Problem by Jennifer Lloyd; illus. by Jacqui Lee Primary     Simply Read     41 pp. 8/14     978-1-927018-47-7     $9.95 This light and easy mystery, told in six chapters, will be just the thing to boost new readers’ confidence and tickle their funny bones. A gorilla named Murilla lives in the rainforest of an […]

Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story

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What There Is Before 
There Is Anything There: A Scary Story by Liniers; illus. by the author; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary    Groundwood    24 pp. 9/14    978-1-55498-385-8    $18.95 Argentinian cartoonist Liniers’s (The 
Big Wet Balloon, rev. 9/13) bravely existential picture book eschews cute monsters in closets to capture the true reality of […]

Review of The Right Word

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The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant; illus. by Melissa Sweet Primary    Eerdmans    48 pp. 9/14    978-0-8028-5385-1    $17.50 Apt language and ingenious imagery combine to tell the life story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of the thesaurus. A solitary, though not unhappy, child, Roget spends his time keeping lists and ordering the […]

Review of Gracefully Grayson

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Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky Intermediate, Middle School    Hyperion    247 pp. 11/14    978-1-4231-8527-7    $16.99 Grayson, a sixth grader at Porter Middle School, passes the time doodling and daydreaming about what it would be like to go through life as a girl, despite being seen by everyone else as male. Struggling with the total isolation that […]

Review of Flora and the Penguin

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Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 9/14    978-1-4521-2891-7    $16.99 Having mastered the art of the dahhnce in Flora and the Flamingo (rev. 7/13), the same little-girl protagonist takes up figure skating. While lacing up her skates, she spies an orange beak peeking out of a […]

Review of Little Melba and 
Her Big Trombone

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Little Melba and 
Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown; 
illus. by Frank Morrison Primary    Lee & Low    40 pp. 7/14    978-1-60060-898-8    $18.95    g From the time she was a little girl, Melba Liston loved music, especially the jazz music that surrounded her while she was growing up, first in Kansas City and then in Los […]