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Review of How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story

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How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story by Mac Barnett; illus. by Adam Rex Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 9/16    978-1-4231-5220-0    $17.99    g Barnett and Rex, no strangers to metafiction (Chloe and the Lion), have outdone themselves in terms of tongue-in-cheekiness as they describe the process of creating a book. “Ideas can come […]

Five Questions for Adam Rex and Christian Robinson

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School’s First Day of School (Roaring Brook/Porter, 2016) by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson, provides a new perspective on the first day of school — that of the building itself. From worry and anticipation to excitement, jealousy, and, finally, contentment and eagerness for the next day, the school’s childlike reactions will be understood by […]

Recommended School Stories: Picture Books

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Bean, Jonathan This Is My Home, This Is My School 48 pp. Farrar 2015. ISBN 978-0-374-38020-5 The boy from Building Our House welcomes readers back into his home — and school. Our narrator — the author/illustrator’s stand-in — gives a whirlwind tour of homeschooling life, and the warmhearted, cheerfully cluttered illustrations show how home and […]

Review of 88 Instruments

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88 Instruments by Chris Barton; 
illus. by Louis Thomas Primary    Knopf    32 pp. 8/16    978-0-553-53814-4    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-553-53815-1    $20.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-553-53823-6    $10.99 Move over, kid in the candy shop: a child has been unleashed in a music store, and the sight of its many — eighty-eight — instruments has the effect of […]

What Do You Do with a Problem?

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What Do You Do with a Problem? (Compendium, June 2016) Well, author Kobi Yamada and illustrator Mae Besom have some advice on how to deal. A companion to the pair’s 2014 collaboration What Do You Do with an Idea?, this picture book is about a young boy with (you guessed it) a problem. What’s unusual […]

Review of The Not So Quiet Library

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The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Dial    40 pp. 7/16    978-0-8037-4140-9    $17.99    g Every Saturday Dad takes Oskar and his bear Theodore to the library after a hearty breakfast at the doughnut shop. Dad heads upstairs (to the “nap department”) while Oskar and Theodore visit the children’s […]

In the doghouse

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Barking. Digging. Breaking things. True, the pooch protagonists of these recent picture books may have some bad habits. But as it turns out, even not-so-great qualities can have upsides, and the pups are excellent at what really matters: being a kid’s best friend. (And cleaning the floor, of course.) In Excellent Ed, each of the […]

Beware the Jabberbook!

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Or don’t beware. Be excited. Picture books with made-up words that make complete sense are my new favorite trend.   There’s Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette “Kleebo” Portis (Roaring Brook, July 2016; received a starred review in the May/June 2016 Horn Book Magazine), about two residents of Boborp who have been best […]

Review of The Snurtch

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The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell; 
illus. by Charles Santoso Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 8/16    978-1-4814-5656-2    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5657-9    $10.99 In this author-illustrator team’s (I Don’t Like Koala, rev. 3/15) second book, Ruthie, a wide-eyed, snub-nosed child with pigtail tufts that stick straight up, “has a problem at school.” And it’s a big […]

Review of Grumpy Pants

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Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer; illus. by the author Preschool    Whitman    32 pp. 5/16    978-0-8075-3075-7    $16.99    g Penguin, dressed in yellow rain slicker and matching hat and standing under an ominous gray cloud, is in “a bad mood. A very bad mood.” He stomps inside and begins shedding layers. Off come the “grumpy boots,” “grumpy […]