Review of Murilla Gorilla and the Hammock Problem

lloyd_murilla gorilla and the hammock problem

Murilla Gorilla and the Hammock Problem by Jennifer Lloyd; illus. by Jacqui Lee Primary     Simply Read     41 pp. 8/14     978-1-927018-47-7     $9.95 This light and easy mystery, told in six chapters, will be just the thing to boost new readers’ confidence and tickle their funny bones. A gorilla named Murilla lives in the rainforest of an […]

Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story

liniers_what there is before there is anything there

What There Is Before 
There Is Anything There: A Scary Story by Liniers; illus. by the author; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary    Groundwood    24 pp. 9/14    978-1-55498-385-8    $18.95 Argentinian cartoonist Liniers’s (The 
Big Wet Balloon, rev. 9/13) bravely existential picture book eschews cute monsters in closets to capture the true reality of […]

The Human Body app review

human body main screen

Last week’s edition of Nonfiction Notes offered several recommended books about medicine and the human body (plus books on social change, how things work, indigenous cultures, and geography/cartography). Another resource, TinyBop’s The Human Body app, introduces the human body and its systems through exploratory play. Begin by selecting from four child avatars. The app’s main […]

Review of The Right Word

bryant_right word

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant; illus. by Melissa Sweet Primary    Eerdmans    48 pp. 9/14    978-0-8028-5385-1    $17.50 Apt language and ingenious imagery combine to tell the life story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of the thesaurus. A solitary, though not unhappy, child, Roget spends his time keeping lists and ordering the […]

Review of Gracefully Grayson

polonsky_gracefully grayson

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky Intermediate, Middle School    Hyperion    247 pp. 11/14    978-1-4231-8527-7    $16.99 Grayson, a sixth grader at Porter Middle School, passes the time doodling and daydreaming about what it would be like to go through life as a girl, despite being seen by everyone else as male. Struggling with the total isolation that […]

Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

from ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET by Oliver Jeffers, from oliverjeffers.com

The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2015 issue of the Horn Book Magazine. Coming this Wednesday: Fanfare, our choices for the best books of 2014. Once Upon an Alphabet; written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel) The Bear Ate Your Sandwich; written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach (Knopf) Supertruck; written and illustrated by […]

Review of Flora and the Penguin

idle_flora and the penguin

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 9/14    978-1-4521-2891-7    $16.99 Having mastered the art of the dahhnce in Flora and the Flamingo (rev. 7/13), the same little-girl protagonist takes up figure skating. While lacing up her skates, she spies an orange beak peeking out of a […]

Review of Little Melba and 
Her Big Trombone

russell-brown_little melba

Little Melba and 
Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown; 
illus. by Frank Morrison Primary    Lee & Low    40 pp. 7/14    978-1-60060-898-8    $18.95    g From the time she was a little girl, Melba Liston loved music, especially the jazz music that surrounded her while she was growing up, first in Kansas City and then in Los […]

Review of Nuts to You

perkins_nuts to you

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate    Greenwillow    260 pp. 8/14    978-0-06-009275-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-226220-2    $8.99 Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his […]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 movie review

mockingjay part 1 poster

The team behind The Hunger Games film adaptations gets it. With plenty of explosions and covert operations to draw from in Suzanne Collins’s source material, Lionsgate Films’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 could have been just an action movie. Instead, the filmmakers’ decision to split the book into two movies allows the characters’ emotional […]