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 Buried Sunlight

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Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have 
Changed the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm; illus. by Molly Bang Primary    Blue Sky/Scholastic    48 pp. 9/14    978-0-545-57785-4    $17.99    g In the latest of Bang and Chisholm’s excellent books on the role of the sun’s energy in powering life processes on Earth (Living Sunlight, rev. 5/09; Ocean […]

Review of The Madman of Piney Woods

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The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis Intermediate, Middle School   Scholastic    370 pp. 9/14    978-0-545-15664-6    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-63376-5    $16.99 In this companion to Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton (rev. 11/07), it is now 1901, and for thirteen-year-old Benji Alston of Buxton, Ontario, the American Civil War is ancient history — […]

Review of Quest

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Quest by Aaron Becker; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-6595-1    $15.99 Journey (rev. 9/13) introduced a girl with a magic red crayon who could draw her way into an adventure and back home. At the end of the book she met a boy with his own purple crayon. Quest — the […]

Review of At Home in Her Tomb

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At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui by Christine Liu-Perkins; 
illus. by Sarah S. Brannen Intermediate, Middle School    Charlesbridge    80 pp. 4/14    978-1-58089-370-1    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-615-9    $9.99 Late in 1971, workers digging an air-raid shelter in Hunan Province found three tombs of a noble family from early […]

Review of Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, 
and Other Tourist Attractions

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Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, 
and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look; illus. by LeUyen Pham Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    163 pp. 8/14    978-0-385-36972-5    $15.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-36973-2    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-449-81986-9    $7.99 Alvin Ho, who’s afraid even when safe at home, faces previously unknown fears when his […]

Review of My Teacher Is a Monster! 
(No, I Am Not.)

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My Teacher Is a Monster! 
(No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 7/14    978-0-316-07029-4    $18.00 From the cover, it is clear that Bobby and his teacher do not agree: “My Teacher Is a MONSTER!” says Bobby in a giant word balloon; Ms. Kirby replies, “No, I […]

Review of Brave Chicken Little

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Brave Chicken Little retold by Robert Byrd; 
illus. by the reteller Preschool, Primary    Viking    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-670-78616-9    $17.99    g The chick is not just a witless wonder in this expansion of the familiar folktale. Bopped on the head by an acorn, this Chicken Little does rush off to tell the king that “the sky […]

Review of A Creature of Moonlight

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A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn Middle School, High School    Houghton    314 pp. 5/14    978-0-544-10935-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-544-11009-0    $17.99 Marni is the daughter of a princess and the powerful dragon who presides over the kingdom’s magicked woods. When she was a baby, her grandfather surrendered his throne to his son to save her […]

Review of The Twins’ Little Sister

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The Twins’ Little Sister by Hyewon Yum; illus. by the author Preschool    Foster/Farrar    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-374-37973-5    $17.99 Those strong-willed sisters from The Twins’ Blanket (rev. 9/11) are back, having successfully transitioned from one shared bed and blanket to two beds and two blankets (one yellow and one pink, reflecting each twin’s decided color preference). […]

Review of Park Scientists

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Park Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard 
[Scientists in the Field] by Mary Kay Carson; 
photos by Tom Uhlman Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    75 pp. 5/14    978-0-547-79268-2    $18.99 Although most of us think about our national parks in terms of their stunning natural vistas and opportunities for outdoor adventures, they […]