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

liniers_what there is before there is anything there

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

bryant_right word

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

polonsky_gracefully grayson

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

idle_flora and the penguin

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

russell-brown_little melba

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 […]

Review of Nuts to You

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Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate    Greenwillow    260 pp. 8/14    978-0-06-009275-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-226220-2    $8.99 Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his […]

Review of A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

mcdonnell_perfectly messed-up story

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 10/14    978-0-316-22258-7    $17.00 “No pages were harmed in the making of this book.” This cheeky copyright page disclaimer is undoubtedly true, but the very realistic-looking messes inside — and on the cover—make it hard to believe. For Louie, […]

Review of Winter Bees

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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Rick Allen Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-547-90650-8    $17.99 In winter, bees (“we are nothing on our own”) keep their precious queen warm by massing together into a “sizzling ball.” Hibernating garter snakes, safe in a cave, “’round each other twist […]

Review of The Spiritglass Charade

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The Spiritglass Charade [Stoker & Holmes] by Colleen Gleason Middle School, High School    Chronicle    356 pp. 10/14    978-1-4521-1071-4    $17.99    g In the second Stoker & Holmes mystery (The Clockwork Scarab, rev. 9/13), the royal family enlists the teenage protagonists to investigate whether a young lady, Willa Ashton — who believes she can communicate with her […]

Review of The Book with No Pictures

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The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak Preschool    Dial    48 pp. 9/14    978-0-8037-4171-3    $17.99    g Novak (from television’s The Office) goes meta in this very funny text-only picture book. On crisp white pages, in a large black font, readers and listeners get clued in: “Here is how books work: Everything the words say, […]