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Review of Hit Count

lynch_hit count

Hit Count by Chris Lynch High School   Algonquin   362 pp. 5/15   978-1-61620-250-7   $17.95   g e-book ed. 978-1-61620-490-7   $17.95 As a lowly freshman, junior varsity football player Arlo Brodie sets his future goals: varsity linebacker by sophomore year, then college ball for a Division One team, then the pros. After freshman year, Arlo works out like […]

Review of Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

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Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage 
Changed Music by Margarita Engle; 
illus. by Rafael López Primary    Houghton    40 pp. 3/15    978-0-544-10229-3    $16.99 A young girl dreams of becoming a drummer. Though she lives “on an island of music / in a city of drumbeats,” hers is an impossible dream: only boys play drums. An […]

Transformers: But Myth Has No Prototype

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Like many fantasy writers born and raised in Britain, I am haunted by Celtic and Arthurian myth; it goes with the territory. Even before I could read, I’d been shown the footprint of King Arthur’s horse up on the mountain above my grandmother’s village in Wales, and the mist that was the breath of the […]

Review of Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

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Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured 
Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Jamey Christoph Primary   Whitman   32 pp. 3/15     978-0-8075-3017-7   $16.99   g Weatherford (Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood, rev. 5/14; Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane, rev. 5/08) presents the life of groundbreaking African American photographer […]

Review of Misty

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Misty [Stanley & Me] by Christine Dencer; illus. by Jessica Meserve Primary   Simply Read   32 pp. 2/15   978-1-927018-59-0   $12.95 The first title in this new beginning reader series introduces Sophie and Stanley, neighbors and best friends. Four cumulative chapters tackle the friendship’s first obstacle, Stanley’s new dog Misty. “I would like to play in Stanley’s […]

Review of Vegetables in Underwear

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Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman; 
illus. by the author Preschool   Abrams Appleseed/Abrams   32 pp. 4/15   978-1-4197-1464-1   $14.95 Vegetables are usually not funny. Underpants often are. Vegetables in underwear? Guaranteed preschool hilarity. A head of broccoli gets things started on the copyright and dedication pages with a striptease down to his red skivvies. A similarly […]

Transformers: The Power of Storytelling

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I grew up in a small brick row house on a dead-end street in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In many ways, my neighborhood block in the 1940s was representative of African American culture as a whole: there were too many things we were told we could not do, too many places we might […]

Review of The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko; illus. by 
Sean Qualls and Selina Alko Primary   Levine/Scholastic   32 pp. 1/15   978-0-545-47853-3   $18.99 The 1967 Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage throughout the country is here given a picture-book accounting. Richard Loving was white, Mildred Jeter’s skin was a “creamy caramel”; […]

Review of Nimona

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   HarperTeen   266 pp. 5/15   978-0-06-227823-4   $17.99 Paper ed. 978-0-06-227822-7   $12.99 Ballister Blackheart — ex-knight and current 
supervillain — is focused on the destruction of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics. He also wouldn’t mind getting even with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, a knight-school […]

Review of Tad and Dad

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Tad and Dad by David Ezra Stein; 
illus. by the author Preschool   Paulsen/Penguin   40 pp. 4/15   978-0-399-25671-4   $16.99   g Poor Dad. Poor Tad. Neither frog is getting any sleep in his (lily)pad. Tad loves his dad so much that he can hardly bear to be away from him, even at night. Whether Tad is a […]