Review of The Tight-Rope Walkers

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The Tight-Rope Walkers by David Almond High School   Candlewick   326 pp. 3/15   978-0-7636-7310-9   $17.99   g Dom is a clever, working-class boy from the north of England, beloved of his teachers, the hope of his parents. It’s the early 1960s, an optimistic period in British education, when the son of a shipbuilder could plausibly end up […]

Review of Use Your Words, Sophie!

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Use Your Words, Sophie! by Rosemary Wells; illus. by the author Preschool   Viking   24 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01663-1   $16.99   g Mouse-child Sophie uses lots of words. She welcomes her new baby sister home from the hospital in Jellyfish language (“Jubbabubba”); she growls that she’s “too big for naps” in Hyena language (“Grabvjkloz!”). But her distracted parents […]

Review of In Mary’s Garden

kugler_in mary's garden

In Mary’s Garden by Tina Kügler and Carson Kügler; illus. by the authors Primary   Houghton   32 pp. 3/15   978-0-544-27220-0   $16.99 As a girl, Mary “was happiest when her hands were busy making, building, creating things.” As she grew up and traveled around the world, those early interests developed into a love for art. She returns […]

Review of Completely Clementine

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Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; illus. by Marla Frazee Primary, Intermediate   Disney-Hyperion   181 pp. 3/15   978-1-4231-2358-3   $14.99   g In this series-ender, third grade is almost over, but Clementine is far from ready to say goodbye to her familiar classmates and supportive teacher. Mr. D’Matz keeps trying to tell her about all the ways she’s grown […]

Review of You Nest Here with Me

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You Nest Here with Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple; illus. by Melissa Sweet Preschool   Boyds Mills   32 pp. 3/15   978-1-59078-923-0   $16.95   g Yolen and Stemple gracefully incorporate natural science into a comforting picture book comparing various nesting birds with a “nesting” child (“My little nestling, time for bed…”). Some birds, such […]

Review of I, Fly

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I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos; illus. by Jennifer Plecas Primary   Holt   40 pp. 3/15   978-0-8050-9469-5   $17.99   g An adorable fly — googly-eyed, fuzzy-bodied, and with a winning smile, as portrayed in Plecas’s funny but informative cartoon illustrations — makes a compelling argument for why he should […]

Review of Listen, Slowly

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Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lại Intermediate, Middle School   Harper/HarperCollins   260 pp. 2/15   978-0-06-222918-2   $16.99 This second novel from National Book Award winner Lại (Inside Out and Back Again, rev. 3/11) grabs readers from the start. California girl Mai is on a plane, accompanying Ba, her grandmother, on a trip to Vietnam. Mai, who planned to […]

Review of Bird & Diz

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Bird & Diz by Gary Golio; illus. by Ed Young Primary   Candlewick   26 pp. 3/15   978-0-7636-6660-6   $19.99 An impressionistic story of a “be-bop-a-skoodley” friendship comes together in the juxtaposition of a series of opposites — rendering and abstraction, saturation and resistance, darkness and light — reflecting the special partnership of two distinct musical legends. Golio […]

Review of Fatal Fever

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Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow Intermediate, Middle School  Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills  176 pp. 3/15      978-1-62091-597-4     $16.95 In the second book by Jarrow about a deadly disease — Red Madness was the first — she takes on typhoid. At the turn of the twentieth century, typhoid was still very much […]

Review of Challenger Deep

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Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman; illus. by Brendan Shusterman High School   HarperTeen   318 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-113411-1   $17.99   g e-book 978-0-06-223172-7   $9.99 This novel is a challenge to the reader from its first lines: author Shusterman takes us into the seemingly random, rambling, and surreal fantasies of fifteen-year-old Caden Bosch (yes, it makes sense to associate […]