Review of Detective Gordon: The First Case

nilsson_detective gordon the first case

Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson; illus. by Gitte Spee; trans. from the Swedish by Julia Marshall Primary, Intermediate   Gecko   96 pp. 4/15   978-1-927271-49-0   $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-927271-72-8   $9.99 This Swedish import stars toad Detective Gordon, “Chief of Police and Chief of Detectives in the forest.” He’s elderly (for a toad: nineteen), cerebral, […]

Review of It’s Only Stanley

agee_it's only stanley

It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Dial   32 pp. 3/15   978-0-8037-3907-9   $17.99 The Wimbledon family can’t sleep due to one noise (“HOWOOO!”) after another (“CLANK CLANK CLANK”). In each case, it’s the fault of their dog Stanley, whose onomatopoeic disturbances interrupt — hilariously — not just the sleep but […]

Review of Macbeth

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Macbeth by William Shakespeare; adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds Middle School, High School   Candlewick   146 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-6943-0   $21.99 Paper ed. 978-0-7636-7802-9   $12.99 Whereas Romeo and Juliet received a striking makeover with a new setting and an ethnically diverse cast in Hinds’s graphic-novel version (rev. 11/13), he has chosen to remain faithful to the […]

Review of The Boy in the Black Suit

reynolds_boy-in-the-black-suit

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds Middle School, High School   Atheneum   257 pp. 1/15   978-1-4424-5950-2   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-5952-6   $10.99 High-school senior Matt wears a black suit because he has a job at Mr. Ray’s funeral home (setting up chairs and food for services), but also — metaphorically — because he himself […]

Review of Meet the Dullards

pennypacker_meet the dullards

Meet the Dullards by Sara Pennypacker; illus. by Daniel Salmieri Primary   Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins   32 pp. 3/15   978-0-06-219856-3   $17.99 The tradition of Bottner’s The Scaredy Cats (rev. 3/03) and Allard’s Stupids books (The Stupids Die, rev. 8/81) lives on with the Dullards, a family of five engulfed in ennui. The Dullard parents are horrified when […]

WWF Together app review

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With Earth Day‘s 45th anniversary celebration yesterday, it seems a good time to review the World Wildlife Fund’s lovely awareness-raising app WWF Together (2013). The app introduces sixteen endangered species from around the world, each characterized with a quality emphasizing its uniqueness: e.g., panda (“charisma”), elephant (“intelligence”), marine turtle (“longevity”), tiger (“solitude”). Each animal receives […]

Review of Touch the Brightest Star

matheson_touch the brightest star

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson; 
illus. by the author Preschool   Greenwillow   40 pp. 5/15   978-0-06-227447-2   $15.99   g The little bluebird from Tap the Magic Tree (rev. 1/14) flies across the first double-page spread as sunset falls: “Magic happens every night. / First wave good-bye to the sun’s bright light.” In the spacious collage […]

Review of Trombone Shorty

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Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews; illus. by Bryan Collier Primary   Abrams   40 pp. 4/15   978-1-4197-1465-8   $17.95 In New Orleans parlance, “Where y’at?” means “hello.” As an opening greeting (repeated three times, creating a jazzy beat), it also signals the beginning of this conversational and personable 
autobiography. Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, concentrates on his […]

Review of How Jelly Roll Morton 
Invented Jazz

winter_how jelly roll morton invented jazz

How Jelly Roll Morton 
Invented Jazz by Jonah Winter; 
illus. by Keith Mallett Primary   Porter/Roaring Brook   32 pp. 6/15   978-1-59643-963-4   $17.99 Much like jazz itself, Winter has created a book filled with ebbs and flows, rhythm and rhyme, darkness and light, shadow and sunshine. Opening with a dreamy spread set in a dimly lit New […]

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 […]