Review of Traveling Butterflies

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Traveling Butterflies by Susumu Shingu; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Owlkids   40 pp. 9/15   978-1-77147-148-0   $18.95   g This simple, elegant picture book traces the migration of the monarch butterfly from its northern home to its “winter sanctuary” in Mexico and back again. The story begins with eggs “as small as a dewdrop” on a […]

Review of The Wolf Wilder

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The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell Intermediate   Simon   232 pp. 8/15   978-1-4814-1942-0    $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-1944-4   $10.99 Feodora and her mother, Marina, are “wolf wilders” in early-twentieth-century Russia: when aristocrats tire of their pet wolves (a status symbol thought to bring good luck), the girl and her mother reverse the wolves’ forced domestication, teaching the […]

Review of Oskar and the Eight Blessings

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Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon; illus. by Mark Siegel Primary, Intermediate   Roaring Brook   40 pp. 9/15   978-1-59643-949-8   $17.99 In 1938, the last night of Hanukkah coincided with Christmas Eve, and for a young Jewish refugee in Manhattan, both holidays provided blessings. Following Kristallnacht, Oskar’s parents had put him on […]

Review of A Song for Ella Grey

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A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond High School   Delacorte   268 pp. 10/15   978-0-553-53359-0   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-53360-6   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-53361-3   $10.99 A celebration of the wonderful madness of youth, and of the bemusing, soul-confusing power of aesthetic experience, lies at the heart of Almond’s lyrical, contemporary-set take on the myth of Orpheus […]

Reviews of The Hunger Games trilogy

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The Hunger Games [Hunger Games] by Suzanne Collins Middle School, High School     Scholastic      374 pp. 10/08     978-0-439-02348-1      $17.99 Survivor meets “The Lottery” as the author of the popular Underland Chronicles returns with what promises to be an even better series. The United States is no more, and the new Capitol, high in the Rocky […]

Review of My Seneca Village

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 My Seneca Village by Marilyn Nelson Middle School, High School   Namelos   88 pp. 11/15   978-1-60898-196-0   $21.95 Paper ed. 978-1-60898-197-7   $11.95 e-book ed. 978-1-60898-198-4   $9.95 Seneca Village in Manhattan was founded in 1825 by free African Americans; by 1857 it had been razed to make way for the construction of Central Park. In forty-one poems Nelson […]

Review of Calvin

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Calvin by Martine Leavitt High School   Ferguson/Farrar   182 pp. 11/15   978-0-374-38073-1   $17.99   g Seventeen-year-old Calvin has recently been diagnosed as schizophrenic. Calvin believes that his life is inextricably linked to Bill Watterson, the famously reclusive artist behind the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes — a belief reinforced by the constant presence of the voice of […]

Review of The Amber Spyglass

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The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman Middle School, High School     Knopf     523 pp. 10/00     0-679-87926-9     $19.95 Armed with a rare numbered typescript copy of The Amber Spyglass, I’m tempted to roll up my shirtsleeves, light a cigar, splash some Tokay into a glass, and discuss fine points of reason, fancy, and theology before all hell […]

Review of Goodnight, Good Dog

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Goodnight, Good Dog by Mary Lyn Ray; illus. by Rebecca Malone Preschool   Houghton   32 pp. 11/15   978-0-544-28612-2   $16.99 A small yellow dog has no interest in going to bed. (Just like many a child.) Even after the house and the people in it are asleep, the dog is awake and remembering his fun-filled day—playing, eating, […]

Recommended Preschool Books: ABCs and 123s

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Browne, Anthony One Gorilla: A Counting Book    32 pp. Candlewick 2013. ISBN 978-0-7636-6352-0 For Anthony Browne, a gorilla is never just a gorilla. In this seemingly simple counting book from one to ten (plus a final coda), generous white space and classic type treatment balance expertly with large head-and-shoulders portraits of primates: “1 gorilla / […]