Review of A Song for Ella Grey

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A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond High School   Delacorte   268 pp. 10/15   978-0-553-53359-0   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-53360-6   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-53361-3   $10.99 A celebration of the wonderful madness of youth, and of the bemusing, soul-confusing power of aesthetic experience, lies at the heart of Almond’s lyrical, contemporary-set take on the myth of Orpheus […]

Review of Calvin

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Calvin by Martine Leavitt High School   Ferguson/Farrar   182 pp. 11/15   978-0-374-38073-1   $17.99   g Seventeen-year-old Calvin has recently been diagnosed as schizophrenic. Calvin believes that his life is inextricably linked to Bill Watterson, the famously reclusive artist behind the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes — a belief reinforced by the constant presence of the voice of […]

Review of The Amber Spyglass

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The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman Middle School, High School     Knopf     523 pp. 10/00     0-679-87926-9     $19.95 Armed with a rare numbered typescript copy of The Amber Spyglass, I’m tempted to roll up my shirtsleeves, light a cigar, splash some Tokay into a glass, and discuss fine points of reason, fancy, and theology before all hell […]

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

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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 […]