Review of How to Pee

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How to Pee: Potty Training for Boys by Todd Spector; illus. by Arree Chung Preschool   Holt   32 pp. 4/15   978-0-8050-9773-3   $12.99   g This lighthearted peeing primer by a family doctor/father encourages both kids and parents to add some fun to the sometimes-fraught process. In an introductory note “Dr. Todd” explains his approach. When he was […]

Review of Shadow Scale

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Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman Middle School, High School   Random   600 pp. 3/15   978-0-375-86657-9   $18.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-96657-6   $21.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-375-89659-0   $10.99 With the dragon civil war closing in on Goredd, Seraphina (Seraphina, rev. 7/12) begins an uncertain mission: she and Abdo, a fellow half-dragon, embark on a journey to recruit other ityasaari […]

Review of I Don’t Like Koala

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I Don’t Like Koala by Sean Ferrell; illus. by Charles Santoso Preschool, Primary   Atheneum   40 pp. 4/15   978-1-4814-0068-8   17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4814-0069-5   $12.99 Picture this front-matter illustration: a boxed gift neatly tied up with red ribbon. An eager little boy with arms outstretched. It’s a perfect Kodak (ahem, make that smart-phone) moment. But when […]

Review of Winnie

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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker; illus. by Jonathan D. Voss Primary   Holt   32 pp. 1/15   978-0-8050-9715-3   $17.99 A real bear plays a part in Winnie-the-Pooh’s origin story: at the London Zoo, a bear named Winnie made such a strong impression on young Christopher Milne that he […]

Review of Gone Crazy in Alabama

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Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia Intermediate, Middle School   Amistad/HarperCollins   291 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-221587-1   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-221588-8   $17.89   g e-book ed. 978-0-06-221590-1   $9.99 Williams-Garcia says goodbye to the Gaither family (One Crazy Summer, rev. 3/10; P. S. Be Eleven, rev. 5/13) in this involving and emotional concluding installment. It’s been a year since […]

Review of Yard Sale

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Yard Sale by Eve Bunting; illus. by Lauren Castillo Primary   Candlewick   32 pp. 4/15   978-0-7636-6542-5   15.99   g In this straightforward, heartfelt story, hard economic times mean that Callie and her parents must move from their house into a small apartment. “Small but nice,” Callie’s mother tells her. The family must sell many of its things […]

Review of The Grasshopper & the Ants

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The Grasshopper & the Ants by Jerry Pinkney; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Little, Brown   40 pp. 4/15   978-0-316-40081-7   $18.00   g Moving right up Maslow’s hierarchy of 
needs, Pinkney transforms Aesop’s harsh 
fable about the consequences of improvi
dence into one celebrating the value of the arts. Unlike his true-to-species characters in his Caldecott-winning The […]

Review of The Penderwicks in Spring

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The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall Intermediate   Knopf   339 pp. 3/15   978-0-375-87077-4   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-97077-1   $19.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-97459-4   $10.99 In this fourth Penderwicks book, time has passed and the family landscape has changed. Mr. Penderwick has married the lovely Iantha; Rosalind is away at college; and Skye is fending off best […]

Review of Dinosaur vs. Mommy

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Dinosaur vs. Mommy by Bob Shea; illus. by the author Preschool   Disney-Hyperion   32 pp. 3/15   978-1-4231-6086-1   $16.99 In his sixth showdown, Shea’s feisty red dino challenges Mommy all day long. From “Mommy taking a quick shower!” to a trip to the store (“roar! cookies! roar! cereal! roar! chips!”) — poor Mommy doesn’t really stand a […]

Review of Please Excuse This Poem

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Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick High School   Viking   289 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01479-8   $16.99   g “Most poets begin writing poetry in secret.” Poet Carolyn Forché opens her introduction to this anthology of contemporary American poetry with a shout-out to young or burgeoning […]