Review of Tricky Vic

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Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the 
Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli; illus. by the author Intermediate   Viking   48 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01652-5   $17.99 Amidst the current plethora of picture-book biography role models, it’s nice to see a book about a con artist. “Ah, yes. But an artist all the same.” […]

Review of Water Is Water

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Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul; illus. by Jason Chin Preschool, Primary   Porter/Roaring Brook   40 pp. 5/15   978-1-59643-984-9   $17.99 An evocative rhyming text and verdant watercolors introduce the water cycle to young readers by linking water’s forms — from water to steam to clouds to fog to rain to […]

What Makes a Good Nonfiction Adaptation?


In 1998, news anchor Peter Jennings and producer Todd Brewster created The Century, a hefty pictorial history covering pivotal events from the twentieth century related by those who had witnessed them. A year later, in collaboration with young-adult author background explanations were added in deference to younger readers whose limited experiential backgrounds might prevent comprehension […]

Solve the Outbreak app review

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Work your way up the Center for Disease Control’s ranks from trainee to master “disease detective” by uncovering the causes of disease outbreaks in Solve the Outbreak (CDC, 2013). Every chapter presents background on a fictionalized outbreak and five clues, each followed by a multiple choice question to narrow down the outbreak’s source. The clues […]

Review of Macbeth


Macbeth by William Shakespeare; adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds Middle School, High School   Candlewick   146 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-6943-0   $21.99 Paper ed. 978-0-7636-7802-9   $12.99 Whereas Romeo and Juliet received a striking makeover with a new setting and an ethnically diverse cast in Hinds’s graphic-novel version (rev. 11/13), he has chosen to remain faithful to the […]

WWF Together app review

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With Earth Day‘s 45th anniversary celebration yesterday, it seems a good time to review the World Wildlife Fund’s lovely awareness-raising app WWF Together (2013). The app introduces sixteen endangered species from around the world, each characterized with a quality emphasizing its uniqueness: e.g., panda (“charisma”), elephant (“intelligence”), marine turtle (“longevity”), tiger (“solitude”). Each animal receives […]

Review of Trombone Shorty

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Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews; illus. by Bryan Collier Primary   Abrams   40 pp. 4/15   978-1-4197-1465-8   $17.95 In New Orleans parlance, “Where y’at?” means “hello.” As an opening greeting (repeated three times, creating a jazzy beat), it also signals the beginning of this conversational and personable 
autobiography. Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, concentrates on his […]

Review of How Jelly Roll Morton 
Invented Jazz

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How Jelly Roll Morton 
Invented Jazz by Jonah Winter; 
illus. by Keith Mallett Primary   Porter/Roaring Brook   32 pp. 6/15   978-1-59643-963-4   $17.99 Much like jazz itself, Winter has created a book filled with ebbs and flows, rhythm and rhyme, darkness and light, shadow and sunshine. Opening with a dreamy spread set in a dimly lit New […]

Review of How to Pee

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How to Pee: Potty Training for Boys by Todd Spector; illus. by Arree Chung Preschool   Holt   32 pp. 4/15   978-0-8050-9773-3   $12.99   g This lighthearted peeing primer by a family doctor/father encourages both kids and parents to add some fun to the sometimes-fraught process. In an introductory note “Dr. Todd” explains his approach. When he was […]

Sally M. Walker on Winnie

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In our March/April 2015 issue, Shoshana Flax chatted to author Sally M. Walker about the spark behind her new nonfiction book, Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh. Read the review of Winnie here. Shoshana Flax: What inspired your Winnie-the-Pooh research? Sally M. Walker: I enjoyed reading Winnie-the-Pooh as a […]