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Review of Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen

Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence; illus. by Elizabet Vuković Primary    Farrar    115 pp. 7/17    978-0-374-30410-2    $15.99 Paper ed.  978-0-374-30834-6    $5.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-30412-6    $4.25 Jasmine’s favorite holiday is New Year’s. Relatives gather at her home in Los Angeles to celebrate, and her beloved Obaachan comes all the way from Japan to visit. […]

Chapter books | Class #3, fall 2017

For our next class on October 4, we are reading three chapter books — Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series (the sequel to Juana & Lucas has not yet been published) and […]

Chapter-book chums

As new readers head back to school, these recent chapter books will help cement a love of read-it-yourself stories. King, an exuberant dog, introduces himself in the initial two entries of a new early-chapter-book series by Dori Hillestad Butler: “Hello! My name is King. I’m a dog. This is Kayla. She is my human.” Each […]

Review of Bruno: Some of the More Interesting Days in My Life So Far

Bruno: Some of the More Interesting Days in My Life So Far by Catharina Valckx; illus. by Nicolas Hubesch; trans. from the French by Antony Shugaar Primary, Intermediate    Gecko    88 pp. 4/17    978-1-77657-124-6    $16.99 Paper ed.  978-1-77657-125-3    $14.90 In six brief chapters, Bruno, a small cat in a blue checked cap, recounts in turn the […]

Just the two of us

Four funny, episodic books for emerging readers feature dynamic duos — human, invertebrate, and everything in between. Laurel Snyder’s beginning chapter book Charlie & Mouse is filled to the brim with sincere, slice-of-life sibling moments. In four chapters, the two eponymous brothers have a party on the playground, attempt to sell rocks to the neighbors, […]

Review of Charlie & Mouse

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder; illus. by Emily Hughes Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 4/17    978-1-4521-3153-5    $14.99 This beginning chapter book is filled to the brim with sincere, slice-of-life sibling moments. In four chapters, brothers Charlie and Mouse spend a day together in their home and neighborhood. Adults are present, but the focus is on […]

Five questions for Juana Medina

Juana Medina’s 2017 Pura Belpré Award–winning Juana & Lucas (Candlewick, 5–8 years) introduces new readers to a new set of friends, a Colombian girl named Juana (just like the author) and her perro, Lucas. Eleven brief and breezy chapters, copiously illustrated with cheery ink and watercolor pictures, tell about Juana’s life growing up in Bogotá […]

Friendly feuds

Around the same time children are making brave first steps as independent readers, they’re also enlarging their friendship sphere. These four new early chapter books humorously tackle some classic friendship conflicts young readers may encounter — and model some possible resolutions. The answer to the titular question of Leo Landry’s What’s Up, Chuck? is: green-eyed […]

They can do it!

Primary readers will cheer these determined everygirl heroines as they face — and conquer — relatable challenges, from learning a new language to speaking up to clueless parents. Author Jacqueline Kelly first introduced readers to aspiring naturalist/veterinarian Callie in the middle-grade novels The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. Now […]

Chapter books | Class #3, fall 2016

This week we are reading three chapter books — The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series and each has a strong central character, an element that I think is essential in early […]