Review of Flop to the Top!

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 Flop to the Top! by Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing; 
illus. by the authors Primary   TOON   38 pp. 9/15   978-1-935179-89-4   $12.95 Wanda is a superstar — in her own mind. Oblivious to her family’s dismay, she forces everyone within arm’s reach to endure invasive photos, rude orders, and diva-like dismissals. After posting a selfie taken […]

Barry Deutsch on Hereville

deutsch_hereville how mirka caught a fish

In our November/December issue, reviewer Shoshana Flax asked Barry Deutsch about the third entry in his graphic novel series about “11-year-old time-traveling Jewish Orthodox babysitter” Mirka. Read the full starred review of Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish here. Shoshana Flax: We hear more about the modern world in this third installment. What do you […]

Review of Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish

deutsch_hereville how mirka caught a fish

Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch; illus. by the author; backgrounds by Adrian Wallace; 
colors by Jake Richmond Middle School   Amulet/Abrams   141 pp. 11/15   978-1-4197-0800-8   $17.95 Mirka is stuck babysitting her pesky six-year-old half-sister Layele while the rest of the family is away from their all-Hasidic community. Fruma, Mirka’s stepmother, leaves strict […]

Review of The Emperor of Any Place

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The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones High School   Candlewick   328 pp. 10/15   978-0-7636-6973-7   $17.99 “So much of grief is unlearning,” observes Wynne-Jones in this perceptive and 
multi-layered page-turner. When Evan’s single father, Clifford, dies suddenly, the high-schooler must work through his own grief while dealing with Clifford’s estranged father Griff, a military man […]

Five questions for Tim Wynne-Jones


At the start of Tim Wynne-Jones’s The Emperor of Any Place (Candlewick, 14 years and up), Evan, reeling from the death of his single father, has no choice but to contact his paternal grandfather, Griff — whom Evan’s dad called a murderer. A gripping story-within-the-story unfolds about a WWII Japanese soldier stranded on a haunted […]

Lights, camera, chapter books!

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These lighthearted outings for early primary readers offer adventures both everyday (a run-in with a teacher, a classmate rivalry) and extraordinary (a dog’s rise to superstardom and…a ghost raccoon sighting). In Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing’s Flop to the Top!, young Wanda is a superstar — in her own mind. After posting a selfie taken […]

Boys to remember

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Four novels featuring teenage boys — in both contemporary and historical settings — take on big issues, with memorable results. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a ripped-from-the-headlines story written with nuance, sharp humor, and devastating honesty. When a quick stop at the corner store suddenly escalates into a terrifying scene […]

Sounds good

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Audio can add another layer to a story, whether through the addition of story-enhancing music, through a narrator’s command of tricky jargon, or the way he or she can make even the prickliest character seem lovable. Here are four audiobooks recommended for older intermediate and middle school readers. As Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan begins, […]

Review of All American Boys

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All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely High School   Dlouhy/Atheneum   316 pp. 9/15   978-1-4814-6333-1   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-6335-5   $9.99 Teens Rashad (who is African American) and Quinn (who is white) are high school classmates and not much more — neither even knows the other’s name. But when a quick stop at the corner […]

Review of James to the Rescue!

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James to the Rescue! [Masterpiece Adventures] by Elise Broach; illus. by Kelly Murphy Primary   Ottaviano/Holt   104 pp. 10/15   978-1-62779-316-2   $15.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-62779-317-9   $9.99 There is something universally compelling about little critters having their own world, mostly hidden from adults (witness the staying power of the Littles, the Borrowers, and the Doll People), and […]