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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 Thursdays.

Review of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael Mahin; illus. by Evan Turk Primary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp. 9/17    978-1-4814-4349-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4350-0    $10.99 McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield (1915–1983) is known for his role in establishing the musical genre known as the “Chicago blues.” This picture-book biography begins with his childhood in […]

Review of You Bring the Distant Near

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins High School    Farrar    305 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-374-30490-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-30491-1    $9.99 In 1973 the Das sisters, Tara and Sonia, with their mother Ranee, join their father in New York City. Ranee is determined that her family will take advantage of the opportunities America offers even […]

Review of Home in the Rain

Home in the Rain by Bob Graham; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 6/17    978-0-7636-9269-8    $16.99 Francie and her pregnant mom are driving home from Grandma’s in a bucketing rain — perilously, it feels. When their little red car is forced off the highway by a huge truck, they (safely) pull off into […]

Review of In Your Hands

In Your Hands by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Brian Pinkney Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    32 pp. 9/17    978-1-4814-6293-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6294-5    $10.99 It looks like a baby-shower book, and it is a baby-shower book — but with a difference. On pastel backgrounds amidst the soft, swirling swoops of Pinkney’s gentle lines and colors, Weatherford […]

Review of Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace Intermediate, Middle School    Calkins/Boyds Mills    192 pp.    g 9/17    978-1-62979-428-0    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-62979-915-5    $9.99 Ten thousand people cheered as the steamer Jeannette departed San Francisco, off to the North Pole, in 1879, seeking to expand human knowledge and […]

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 […]