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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 Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood

mckissack_let's clap, jump, sing & shout

Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia C. McKissack; illus. by Brian Pinkney Preschool, Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    171 pp. 1/17    978-0-375-87088-0    $24.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-97088-7    $27.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-307-97495-2    $12.99 Children’s book royalty and storyteller supreme, […]

Review of Well, That Was Awkward

vail_well that was awkward

Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail Middle School    Viking    314 pp. 2/17    978-0-670-01308-1    $16.99    g As eighth grade comes to a close and her fourteenth birthday approaches, Gracie Grant discovers she has a problem. Out of the blue, Gracie realizes she like-likes longtime and suddenly very attractive classmate AJ Rojanasopondist. But that’s not the […]

Review of North, South, East, West

pizzoli_north, south, east, west

North, South, East, West by Margaret Wise Brown; illus. by Greg Pizzoli Primary     Harper/HarperCollins     40 pp. 1/17     978-0-06-026278-5     $17.99 Pizzoli’s digital illustrations for this never-before-published text by Margaret Wise Brown follow a little red bird whose mother sings to her about taking flight. She sets out exploring […]

Review of Grand Canyon

chin_grand canyon

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Roaring Brook    56 pp. 2/17    978-1-59643-950-4    $19.99    g Vacationing in Grand Canyon provides a father and daughter — and readers — numerous opportunities to explore this National Park’s geology and ecology. Travel guide–like narration (“After climbing out of the Inner Gorge, you’ll find yourself […]

Review of Me and Marvin Gardens

king_me and marvin gardens

Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    250 pp. 2/17    978-0-545-87074-0    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-87077-1    $10.99 The middle-grade debut of YA novelist A.S. King (Still Life with Tornado, rev. 9/16) was bound to be a little weird — and it is. It’s also a smart, environmentally conscious underdog story […]

Review of Life on Mars

agee_life on mars

Life on Mars by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Dial    32 pp. 2/17    978-0-399-53852-0    $17.99    g It’s Only Stanley (rev. 5/15) was a star-crossed (canine) love story that ended on the moon. Now Agee brings readers to the Red Planet. What would you bring along on a trip to search for life […]

Review of Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer 
Ann Cole Lowe

blumenthal_fancy party gowns

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer 
Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal; 
illus. by Laura Freeman Primary    Little Bee    40 pp. 1/17    978-1-4998-0239-9    $17.99    g While the fashion world continues to recognize her work, many do not know the name Ann Cole Lowe. Blumenthal and Freeman have teamed up to place the spotlight […]

Review of The Silver Gate

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The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey Intermediate, Middle School    Tegen/HarperCollins    313 pp. 1/17    978-0-06-239857-4    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-239859-8    $9.99 In Elric’s superstitious feudal village, people think children born with disabilities are changelings; even worse, that they bring down a curse on the community. That’s why Elric’s mother and younger sister, Wynn, with her strange […]

Review of The Three Lucys

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The Three Lucys by Hayan Charara; illus. by Sara Kahn Primary    Lee & Low    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-60060-998-5    $18.95    g Lebanese boy Luli loves his three cats: Lucy the Fat, Lucy the Skinny, and Lucy Lucy. Excited for his family’s annual weekend visit to his aunt Layla and uncle Adel’s house in Beirut, Luli sets […]

Review of Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught 
the World About Kindness

bowman_step right up

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught 
the World About Kindness by Donna Janell Bowman; 
illus. by Daniel Minter Primary, Intermediate    Lee & Low    48 pp. 9/16    978-1-62014-148-9    $19.95    g William “Doc” Key was a self-taught veterinarian, businessman, and patent medicine salesman who was born into slavery in 1833 and became a free […]