vehicles_apelqvist_getting ready to drive

Apelqvist, Eva  Getting Ready to Drive: A How-To Guide Middle school, high school     128 pp.     Enslow Life: A How-To Guide series. Apelqvist provides a concise yet thorough overview of the considerations made when preparing to drive. Chapters touch on large issues (e.g., rules of the road) along with smaller sub-topics, from learning disabilities to how […]

Sea life


Arnosky, Jim  Shimmer & Splash: The Sparkling World of Sea Life Gr. 4–6    40 pp.     Sterling This follow-up to Slither and Crawl and Creep and Flutter examines marine animals including stingrays, dolphins, jellyfish, and sharks. In a conversational tone, Arnosky relates personal yet information-filled stories of encountering these creatures while boating or simply wading in […]

Research and information science


Bailer, Darice  Will and Wendy Build a Website with Digital Tools Gr. 4–6     32 pp.     Norwood Illustrated by Sean O’Neill. Writing Builders series. Wendy and her best friend Will learn how to design a website for their classroom. The solid information and writing tips are mostly suited to middle graders (though the gimmicky framing story […]

Review of Funny Bones

tonatiuh_funny bones

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day 
of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh; 
illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate   Abrams   40 pp. 8/15   978-1-4197-1647-8   $18.95 Artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1915) didn’t invent calaveras, the iconic skeletons associated with Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration, but they attained their greatest popularity during the twenty-four years that […]

Review of My Autumn Book

yee_my autumn book

My Autumn Book by Wong Herbert Yee; 
illus. by the author Preschool   Ottaviano/Holt   32 pp. 8/15   978-0-8050-9922-5   $14.99 A girl celebrates autumn in Yee’s fourth in a quartet of books about the seasons (Tracks in the Snow, rev. 11/03; Who Likes Rain?, rev. 3/07; Summer Days and Nights, rev. 7/12). The young narrator continues her […]

Review of Swan


Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder; 
illus. by Julie Morstad Primary, Intermediate   Chronicle   48 pp. 8/15   978-1-4521-1890-1   $17.99 In this exquisite introduction to ballet great Anna Pavlova (1881–1931), the impressionistic text begins the night young Anna goes out into the big city to see The Sleeping Beauty performed. Like the […]

Reviews of select books by Vera B. Williams

chair for my mother

Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart by Vera B. Williams; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Greenwillow    72 pp. 9/01    0-06-029460-4    15.95    g Library ed.    0-06-029461-2    15.89 For sisters Essie and Amber, a “Best Sandwich” means snuggling together with their teddy bear between them, breathing “each other’s breath / in and out and in […]

Review of James to the Rescue!

broach_james to the rescue

James to the Rescue! [Masterpiece Adventures] by Elise Broach; illus. by Kelly Murphy Primary   Ottaviano/Holt   104 pp. 10/15   978-1-62779-316-2   $15.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-62779-317-9   $9.99 There is something universally compelling about little critters having their own world, mostly hidden from adults (witness the staying power of the Littles, the Borrowers, and the Doll People), and […]

Review of The Hired Girl


 The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz Middle School   Candlewick   392 pp. 9/15   978-0-7636-7818-0   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-0-7636-7943-9   $17.99 In 1911, spirited fourteen-year-old Joan, the only girl in a family of three boys plus a verbally abusive father (her weak-of-constitution mother has died), musters her courage and leaves her rural Pennsylvania home for Baltimore, the […]

Review of Look and Be Grateful

depaola_look and be grateful

Look and Be Grateful by Tomie dePaola; illus. by the author Preschool   Holiday   32 pp. 10/15   978-0-8234-3443-5   $16.95   g e-book ed. 978-0-8234-3485-5   $16.95 With all the picture books designed for just-before-sleep (see Thank You and Good Night and Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! in this issue), why not one to bring you awake? DePaola’s rouse […]