Recommended Narrative Nonfiction: Picture Books

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Applegate, Katherine Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla 40 pp. Clarion 2014. ISBN 978-0-544-25230-1 Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Applegate introduces picture-book readers to the true story that inspired her Newbery-winning The One and Only Ivan. In poetic prose she describes gorilla Ivan’s early life in Africa; his dramatic capture; his […]

Review of Shadows of Sherwood

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Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure by Kekla Magoon Intermediate, Middle School   Bloomsbury   359 pp. 8/15   978-1-61963-634-7   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-61963-635-4   $13.99 When twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley sneaks out in search of a voltage adapter for her latest project, she has no idea that the junkyard’s guard dog will be the least of her […]

Review of Boom Snot Twitty: This Way That Way

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Boom Snot Twitty: This Way That Way by Doreen Cronin; 
illus. by Renata Liwska Preschool   Viking   40 pp. 6/15   978-0-670-78577-3   $16.99   g On the opening endpapers of this gentle story, the unfortunately named Snot (a snail) is happily gathering blueberries and putting them in a basket. The title page shows Boom (a bear) and Twitty […]

Review of Daylight Starlight Wildlife

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Daylight Starlight Wildlife by Wendell Minor; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Paulsen/Penguin   32 pp. 5/15   978-0-399-24662-3   $17.99 In his signature representational artistic style — detailed, luminous, and pristine — Minor compares and contrasts diurnal and nocturnal animals. The opening double-page spread establishes the pattern. The creatures introduced are shown in a meadow, with half […]

Review of Adrift

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Adrift by Paul Griffin Middle School, High School   Scholastic   231 pp. 8/15   978-0-545-70939-2   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-70941-5   $17.99 Narrator Matt and his friend John have left their native Queens to take summer jobs in Montauk on the easternmost tip of Long Island. There they meet a trio of wealthy Portuguese teens — Driana; her […]

Review of First Grade Dropout

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First Grade Dropout by Audrey Vernick; 
illus. by Matthew Cordell Primary   Clarion   32 pp. 7/15   978-0-544-12985-6   $16.99 “I can’t stop thinking about it. How everyone laughed and slapped their desks and stomped their feet. And pointed. At me.” The narrator’s social infraction? “I. Called. My. Teacher. MOMMY!!!” It’s a typical-enough blunder among kids new to […]

Review of Terrible Typhoid Mary

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Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest 
Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti Intermediate, Middle School   Houghton   230 pp. 8/15   978-0-544-31367-5   $17.99   g In a strange publishing quirk, this is the second book about Typhoid Mary this year, the first being Gail Jarrow’s Fatal Fever (rev. 3/15). That book featured George Soper […]

Review of Goodbye Stranger

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Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead Middle School   Lamb/Random   289 pp. 8/15   978-0-385-74317-4   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-99098-4   $19.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-98085-4   $10.99 The main narrative in this new novel from the talented Stead (When You Reach Me, rev. 7/09) follows seventh-grader Bridget Barsamian, who nearly died in an accident when she was eight. A nurse’s […]

Review of My Cousin Momo

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My Cousin Momo by Zachariah OHora; illus. by the author Primary     Dial     32 pp. 6/15     978-0-8037-4011-2     $16.99 Two squirrel siblings excitedly await a visit from their cousin Momo. Unlike them, he’s a flying squirrel — and once he arrives, they learn that the differences don’t stop there. Everything about Momo is foreign to the squirrel […]

Review of Enchanted Air

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Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle Middle School   Atheneum   195 pp. 8/15   978-1-4814-3522-2   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4814-3524-6   $10.99 Well known for her portrayals of historic Cubans in verse novels such as The Surrender Tree (rev. 7/08) and The Poet Slave of Cuba (rev. 7/06), Engle explores her own past […]