Review of The Miniature World of Marvin & James

broach_miniature world of marvin and james

The Miniature World of Marvin & James [Masterpiece Adventures] by Elise Broach; illus. by Kelly Murphy Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    104 pp. 2/14    978-0-8050-9190-8    $15.99 e-book ed.  978-1-6277-9204-2    $9.99 A new early chapter book series follows the friendship of beetle Marvin and human boy James of Masterpiece (rev. 11/08), for a younger audience. The sentences are shorter […]

Review of Rules of Summer

tan_rules of summer

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan; illus. by the author Primary     Levine/Scholastic     56 pp. 5/14     978-0-545-63912-5     $18.99     g “This is what I learned last summer: Never leave a red sock on the clothesline. Never eat the last olive at a party. Never drop your jar.” The narrator enumerates a […]

The Adventures of Captain Underpants app review

captain underpants menu

The Adventures of Captain Underpants app (Scholastic, 2013) features an easy-to-navigate full-color digital adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s graphic novel of the same name, plus an avatar generator, a sound effects mixer, and a panoply of other mini-games based on the story. Best friends and class pranksters George and Harold create a comic book superhero, Captain […]

Nonfiction Reviews of 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Books

sheinkin_port chicago 50

Nonfiction Winner The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the 
Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin Middle School    Roaring Brook    190 pp. 1/14    978-1-59643-796-8    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-59643-983-2    $9.99 Sheinkin follows Bomb (rev. 11/12) with an account of another aspect of the Second World War, stemming from an incident that seems small in […]

Fiction Reviews of 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Books

Fiction Winner Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith High School     Dutton     390 pp. 2/14     978-0-525-42603-5     $18.99 Unfortunate coincidences involving sixteen-year-old Austin and his best friend Robby lead to the unleashing of gigantic, ravenous praying mantises related to a diabolical scientist’s decades-old experiments. Austin’s love for and attraction to both his girlfriend and […]

Picture Book Reviews of 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Books

brown_mr tiger goes wild

Picture Book Winner Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary     Little, Brown     48 pp. 9/13     978-0-316-20063-9     $18.00 Mr. Tiger walks upright and wears a top hat and a handsome coat with a bow tie, fitting in with the rest of society. But his orange fur provides the only spot […]

Review of Mysterious Patterns

campbell_mysterious patterns

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell; photos 
by Sarah C. Campbell and 
Richard P. Campbell Primary    Boyds Mills    32 pp. 4/14    978-1-62091-627-8    $16.95 Bring up the math term fractals in a roomful of adults, and it’s likely quite a few eyes will glaze over. Yet wife-and-husband team Sarah and Richard Campbell […]

Review of Dust of Eden

nagai_dust of eden

Dust of Eden by Mariko Nagai Intermediate, Middle School    Whitman    122 pp. 3/14    978-0-8075-1739-0    $16.99 In this verse novel, we first meet Mina Tagawa and her Seattle-based family just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Shortly after, her father is imprisoned, and the rest of the family — Mina, her mother, grandfather, and older brother […]

Review of The Tree House that Jack Built

verburg_tree house that jack built

The Tree House that Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg; 
illus. by Mark Teague Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    32 pp. 5/14    978-0-439-85338-5    $17.99    g This version of the old cumulative rhyme “The House that Jack Built” grabs kids right from the start: the cover shows a small boy waving from one of many balconies in a multilevel structure […]

Kids Discover Ancient Egypt app review

ancient egypt menu

Long-running children’s nonfiction magazine Kids Discover has made an admirable jump to digital — twenty-one of their issues on natural and social sciences are currently available as apps. I took a look at the digital version of volume 11: Ancient Egypt (Joe Zeff Design, 2013). The app offers eight content chapters: “The Gift of the […]