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 Tommy

blumenthal_tommy

Tommy: The Gun that Changed America by Karen Blumenthal Middle School, High School     Roaring Brook     223 pp. 6/15     978-1-62672-084-8     $19.99     g In this biography of a gun and the times in which it lived, Blumenthal traces the Thompson submachine gun, a.k.a. the Tommy. After the Spanish-American War, an Army officer, John […]

Review of The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden

trevayne_accidental afterlife of thomas marsden

The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne Intermediate, Middle School     Simon    247 pp. 7/15     978-1-4424-9882-2     $16.99     g e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9886-0     $10.99 While out grave-robbing with his father one night, Thomas Marsden digs up a corpse that looks exactly like him, down to the birthmark on his cheek. In his […]

Review of Playful Pigs from A to Z

lobel_playful pigs

Playful Pigs from A to Z by Anita Lobel; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary     Knopf     40 pp. 7/15     978-0-553-50832-1     $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-50833-8     $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-50834-5     $10.99 Twenty-six pigs wake up in their pen and decide to explore the countryside, running down the road and finding a field of “magical surprises”: […]

Review of Secrets of the Rainforest

brown_secrets of the rainforest

Secrets of the Rainforest: A Shine-a-Light Book by Carron Brown; illus. by Alyssa Nassner Preschool, Primary     Kane Miller     40 pp. 3/15     978-161067-325-9     $12.99 In Nassner’s eye-catching illustrations, the lush foliage of a tropical rainforest, filled with abstract, bright-green leaves and brown branches and trunks, hides a host of living organisms. To find out what kinds […]

Review of Binny in Secret

mckay_binny in secret

Binny in Secret by Hilary McKay; illus. by Micah Player Intermediate, Middle School     McElderry     276 pp. 6/15      978-1-4424-8278-4     $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-8280-7     $10.99 Belinda (Binny for Short, rev. 1/14) is back, along with her single-parent mum, responsible sister Clem, and lovable little brother James. In this second adventure the Cornwallis family […]

Review of The Skunk

barnett_skunk

The Skunk by Mac Barnett; illus. by Patrick McDonnell Primary     Roaring Brook     32 pp. 4/15     978-1-59643-966-5     $17.99 A skunk shows up on the narrator’s doorstep and begins to tail him. Try as he might, our narrator just can’t seem to shake the skunk — “When I sped up, the skunk sped up. When […]

Review of Salsa

argueta_salsa

Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem by Jorge Argueta; illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary     Groundwood     32 pp. 3/15     978-1-55498-442-8     $18.95 e-book ed. 978-1-55498-443-5     $16.95 In this latest addition to his series of bilingual cooking poems (Arroz con leche / Rice Pudding; Guacamole), Argueta […]

Review of The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

kelly_curious world of calpurnia tate

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly Intermediate, Middle School     Holt     309 pp. 7/15     978-0-8050-9744-3     $16.99     g Kelly returns to turn-of-the-last-century small-town central Texas to continue the story of nascent scientist Callie Vee. Kelly quickly fills readers in on essential background (only girl in the family, with six brothers; […]

Review of Wait

portis_wait

Wait by Antoinette Portis; illus. by the author Preschool     Porter/Roaring Brook     32 pp. 7/15     978-1-59643-921-4     $16.99 A harried mother rushes her toddler son through the busy city streets, and he resists, stalling to look at everything they encounter. This fundamental tension plays out in a series of spreads illustrating the same refrain. She […]

Review of The Octopus Scientists

montgomery_octopus scientists

The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery; photos by Keith Ellenbogen Intermediate, Middle School     Houghton     71 pp. 5/15     978-0-544-232-70-9     $18.99 The French Polynesian island region of Moorea is home to the Pacific day octopus and to a research center that serves as home base […]