The Everything Machine app review

everything machine title screen

Much like in their Human Body app, Tinybop’s The Everything Machine (2015) provides an opportunity for experimental play and experiential learning. Here users set up virtual circuits between electrical components to accomplish tasks such as power a (digital) light bulb, play sound, or take a picture. The app makes the most of the device’s utilities […]

Review of Old Wolf


Old Wolf by Avi; illus. by Brian Floca Intermediate, Middle School   Jackson/Atheneum   147 pp. 8/15   978-1-4424-9921-8   $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9924-9   $10.99 As winter wanes in the mountain regions of Colorado, Nashoba, an aging wolf, struggles to find fresh game for his pack, all the while desperately trying to hold on to his alpha status. He […]

Niko and the Sword of Light app review

niko title screen

In Niko and the Sword of Light (Imaginism/Studio NX, 2013) the titular young boy is the only Warrior of the Light left. He has in his possession the last relic of his people: The Sword of Light. Forged by the gods, the sword is Niko’s key to saving his world by ridding it of the […]

Review of Crenshaw


Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate Intermediate   Feiwel   243 pp. 9/15   978-1-250-04323-8   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-250-08022-6   $9.99 Jackson is a scientist, a skeptic, and nobody’s fool. He’s the resilient fifth-grader (the “most grown-up one in the house”) in a dreamy, overwhelmed family that has fallen on hard times. But sometimes even the hyper-competent need help, and […]

Katherine Applegate on Crenshaw


In our September/October issue, HB editorial assistant Shoshana Flax asked Katherine Applegate about the impetus for her touching new novel Crenshaw. Read the full starred review of Crenshaw here. Shoshana Flax: Which came first: the idea of writing about an imaginary friend or about a boy and his family dealing with poverty? How did one […]

Reviews of selected books by Jonathan Stroud

stroud_amulet of samarkand

The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One by Jonathan Stroud Middle School      Miramax/Hyperion     462 pp. 9/03     0-7868-1859-X      $17.95 The magicians ruling the British empire in this anachronistic modern fantasy derive their powers from demons — marids, afrits, djinn, imps — who, though summoned to work the magicians’ wills, are always looking […]

Review of Voice of Freedom

weatherford_voice of freedom

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of 
the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Ekua Holmes Intermediate   Candlewick   45 pp. 8/15   978-0-7636-6531-9   $17.99 Weatherford’s latest picture-book biography (Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, rev. 11/06; I, Matthew Henson, rev. 3/08; among many others) chronicles the life of civil […]

Recommended Narrative Nonfiction: Intermediate

bartoletti_terrible typhoid mary

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America    230 pp. Houghton 2015. ISBN 978-0-544-31367-5 What was it like to be a servant, an immigrant, a woman in the early twentieth century? Bartoletti weaves the answers into the beginning of “Typhoid Mary” Mallon’s story — using Mary as […]

Review of Shadows of Sherwood

magoon_shadows of sherwood

Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure by Kekla Magoon Intermediate, Middle School   Bloomsbury   359 pp. 8/15   978-1-61963-634-7   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-61963-635-4   $13.99 When twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley sneaks out in search of a voltage adapter for her latest project, she has no idea that the junkyard’s guard dog will be the least of her […]

Review of Terrible Typhoid Mary

bartoletti_terrible typhoid mary

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest 
Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti Intermediate, Middle School   Houghton   230 pp. 8/15   978-0-544-31367-5   $17.99   g In a strange publishing quirk, this is the second book about Typhoid Mary this year, the first being Gail Jarrow’s Fatal Fever (rev. 3/15). That book featured George Soper […]