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Reviews of the Week

Each week we publish four brand-new reviews of books people are — or should be — talking about. Look for recommended picture books on Mondays, fiction on Tuesdays, nonfiction on Wednesdays, and poetry on Fridays.

Review of Jane, Unlimited

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore Middle School, High School    Dawson/Penguin    451 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-8037-4149-2    $17.99 When her guardian, Aunt Magnolia, dies, Jane is left untethered and financially insecure. Then Kiran, an old acquaintance, invites Jane to Tu Reviens (“you return”), Kiran’s family’s island mansion. Aunt Magnolia had told Jane unequivocally that “if you’re invited […]

Review of A Different Pond

A Different Pond by Bao Phi; illus. by Thi Bui Primary, Intermediate    Capstone    32 pp.    g 8/17    978-1-62370-803-0    $15.95 e-book ed.  978-1-62370-804-7    $9.95 Hours before sunrise, a father and son go fishing for that night’s meal. So begins this powerfully understated picture book, which shifts the focus of the refugee narrative from the harrowing journey […]

Review of Flashlight Night

Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine; illus. by Fred Koehler Primary    Boyds Mills    32 pp. 9/17    978-1-62979-493-8    $16.95 On any dark night, a flashlight illuminating shadows can create delicious thrills. Here, a trio of kids is seen on the title page crossing a dark backyard toward a tree house. A boy carries a stack of […]

Review of Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire

Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville; illus. by Brigette Barrager Primary    Atheneum    48 pp. 8/17    978-1-4814-6131-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6132-0    $10.99 From an early age, artist and designer Mary Blair (1911–1978) “collected colors of every shade and every hue.” In 1940, the […]

Review of Us in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos

Us in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos by Lulu Delacre; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    242 pp.    g 8/17    978-0-06-239214-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-239216-9    $9.99 This collection opens with “The Attack,” an all-too-timely account of a young Latino man with a disability being mistreated by the police. The twelve tales are […]

Review of Why Am I Me?

Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt; illus. by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko Preschool    Scholastic    40 pp.    g 9/17    978-1-338-05314-2    $17.99 A boy and a girl of different skin colors board the same subway car as it travels through a city. As their gazes meet, each child seems to be quietly pondering questions posed […]

Review of When’s My Birthday?

When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano; illus. by Christian Robinson Preschool   Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp. 9/17    978-1-62672-293-4    $17.99 When it comes to young children, there is one day that supersedes all others: the birthday. Fogliano understands the singular focus children have for this day and captures that intensity by repeating the word birthday with a […]

Review of How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild

How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild by Katherine Roy; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Macaulay/Roaring Brook    48 pp. 9/17    978-1-62672-178-4    $18.99 A baby African elephant is born and immediately begins developing the important skills necessary to survive in the wild. In detailed accounts that integrate descriptions of elephant anatomy, […]

Review of Landscape with Invisible Hand

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson Middle School, High School    Candlewick    149 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-7636-8789-2    $16.99 Parable, satire, dystopic sci-fi — Anderson’s take on a near future in which alien “vuvv” have colonized America’s economy, land, and airspace has so many shiveringly close resemblances to the contemporary world that it might also […]

Review of Say Zoop!

Say Zoop! by Hervé Tullet; illus. by the author; trans. from the French by Christopher Franceschelli Preschool    Chronicle    64 pp.    g 8/17    978-1-4521-6473-1    $15.99 Tullet’s latest old-school interactive picture book (Press Here, rev. 7/11, et al.) plays with sounds, primary colors, and creativity. The book begins in familiar Tullet fashion: touch a small blue dot […]