Countdown audiobook review


Countdown by Deborah Wiles; read by Emma Galvin Middle School     Listening Library     Rev. 5/10 6 CDs     7.3 hrs.     978-0-3078-7967-7     $40.00 Eleven-year-old Air Force brat Franny Chapman stars in Wiles’s documentary novel about shifting friendships, first crushes, and family loyalty, set during the volatile days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In this audio version, […]

Review of Bluefish


Bluefish by Pat Schmatz Middle School    Candlewick    229 pp. 9/11    978-0-7636-5334-7    $15.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7636-5614-0    $15.99 “Stupid bluefish” Travis Roberts finds “lowlife trailer-trash loser” Vida “Velveeta” Wojciehowski in a lovely, understated book that celebrates the possibility of a kind and humane friendship between an eighth-grade girl and boy. Travis and Velveeta meet while both are […]

Review of Subway Story

Subway Story

Subway Story by Julia Sarcone-Roach; illus. by the author Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 10/11    978-0-375-85859-8    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95859-5    $19.99 Sarcone-Roach displays a discipline not always seen in books about the environment; she allows her theme of reuse and recycling to emerge naturally from a fine story and lets readers draw their own conclusions without […]

From the Guide: More Good Space Books

13 planets

Danielle J. Ford writes about “What Makes a Good Space Book?” in this issue. For more recommended space books, see the reviews below, compiled from The Horn Book Guide and The Horn Book Guide Online. For information about subscribing to the Guide and the Guide Online, please visit   Aguilar, David A. 13 Planets: […]

Mausoleum Madness, or, Children’s Books Six Feet Under

Some months ago I went to the Boston Public Library’s rare book room to view their display of fine first editions by nineteenth-century American authors. Of course they had lovely examples of Thoreau, Alcott, Dickinson, Emerson, and Whitman, and I slowly took the time to read the helpful notations the research librarians had supplied. One […]

Review of Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

Balloons over Broadway

At Macy’s department store, marionette maker Tony Sarg started inside and worked his way out. He designed mechanical storybook figures for Macy’s window displays before inventing the giant balloon characters that would become the signature feature of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sweet’s whimsical mixed-media collages, embellished with little dolls she made herself out of odds and ends, reinforce the theme that, for Sarg, work was play. He loved his job just as much as the cheering crowds loved his balloons (one of Sweet’s watercolor illustrations shows open-mouthed children fairly dancing with delight).

Review of Zombie Mommy

Zombie Mommy

Mrs. Gefelty, Lily’s mom — worried now that Lily has begun appearing as a book character along with her longtime adventure-series-hero friends Jasper Dash and Katie — has figured out the perfect solution to her metafictive problem. Having noticed that mothers in children’s novels tend to die or disappear, she’s decided to retreat to a safe haven — only it’s not quite as safe as she thinks…