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Review of Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!

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Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea; illus. by the author Primary   Disney-Hyperion   56 pp. 2/16   978-1-4847-1379-2   $9.99 Dance diva Ballet Cat returns for her second early-reader performance (Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, rev. 7/15), and once again she’s paired with a reluctant partner/friend. Butter Bear likes dancing but draws the line at […]

Review of Snappsy the Alligator: Did Not Ask to Be in This Book!

falatko_snappsy the alligator

Snappsy the Alligator: Did Not Ask to Be in This Book! by Julie Falatko; illus. by Tim Miller Primary   Viking   40 pp. 2/16   978-0-451-46945-8   $16.99   g The omniscient narration begins normally enough: “Snappsy the alligator wasn’t feeling like himself.” After a bit more in this vein, Snappsy turns to the reader: “This is terrible!…Why is […]

LumiKids Backyard app review

lumikids backyard title screen

LumiKids Backyard (Lumosity Labs, August 2015) presents a variety of games set on an apparently warm evening with a purplish sky. (We’ve had negative-forty wind chills in Boston within the past week. Color me interested in this setting.) The app alternates between fairly involved games and simple, tap-and-make-something-happen activities. It took me some time to […]

Review of Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “Girl” Reporter Nellie Bly

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Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “Girl” Reporter Nellie Bly by Deborah Noyes Middle School   Viking   135 pp. 2/16   978-0-803-74017-4   $18.99   g With a title ripped from the headlines of Joseph Pulitzer’s late-nineteenth-century New York World, Noyes invites readers into the life and times of legendary journalist Nellie […]

Review of Maybe a Fox

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Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee Intermediate, Middle School   Dlouhy/Atheneum   261 pp. 3/16   978-1-4424-8242-5   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4424-8244-9   $10.99 Eleven-year-old Jules, a budding geologist, and her twelve-year-old sister Sylvie, the fastest kid in school, live with their father in rural Vermont. Because the girls’ mother died when Jules was small, her […]

Review of Don’t Call Me Grandma

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Don’t Call Me Grandma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; 
illus. by Elizabeth Zunon Primary   Carolrhoda   32 pp. 2/16   978-1-4677-4208-5   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4677-9559-3   $19.99 Ninety-six-year-old great-grandmother, Nell, doesn’t answer to “Grandma.” She doesn’t do hugs and kisses. She growls her disapproval at her great-granddaughter, who narrates this book. But belying Nell’s starchy exterior is the […]

Frontier Heroes app review

frontier heroes title screen

The opening screen of Frontier Heroes (Planet H and Red Games, 2014) depicts five cartoonish figures from early American historical eras (they look like maybe George Washington, Pocahontas, a pilgrim, possibly Daniel Boone, or maybe Lewis and Clark). Three icons on the left provide an orientation of sorts: the video icon gives an overview of […]

Review of The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton

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The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick; 
illus. by Steven Salerno Primary   Clarion   40 pp. 3/16   978-0-544-61163-4   $17.99   g Edith Houghton was “magic on the field,” a baseball legend of the 1920s. Playing starting shortstop for the 
all-women’s professional team the Philadelphia Bobbies, she drew fans […]

Review of The Smell of Other People’s Houses

hitchcock_smell of other people's houses

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock Middle School, High School   Lamb/Random   228 pp. 2/16   978-0-553-49778-6   $17.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-49779-3   $20.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-553-49780-9   $10.99 Through sensory details that viscerally evoke the story’s physical and emotional landscapes, readers are transported to 1970s Birch Park, Alaska, where hunting and fishing are both livelihood […]

Review of Here Comes Valentine Cat

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Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood; 
illus. by Claudia Rueda Preschool   Dial   88 pp. 12/16   978-0-525-42915-9   $16.99   g Valentine’s Day has its haters, and Cat (Here Comes the Easter Cat, rev. 3/14, and sequels) is one of them. Cat can’t think of anyone to grace with a Valentine, and new neighbor Dog doesn’t seem […]