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Review of Rescue Squad No. 9


Rescue Squad No. 9 by Mike Austin; illus. by the author Preschool    Random    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-101-93662-7    $16.99    g As in Fire Engine No. 9 (rev. 9/15), Austin live-streams an intense rescue mission, immediately pulling readers into the action. His dynamic illustrations and forceful text are skillfully incorporated in a propulsive, left-to-right design that telegraphs […]

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines


Thanks for chiming in with the books you are excited about! I still have the feeling that The Book has not been mentioned yet…no reason for that feeling, really, but I just think I am missing something. (I know, for instance, that new books illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, Jerry Pinkney, and Ashley Bryan are forthcoming.) […]

Books behaving badly


Some books sit quietly and do what they’re told. Others seem to have minds of their own. The following picture books feature picture books themselves as the stars of the show. Ben, Bella, and Bella’s dog star in a new book — This Book Is Out of Control! — which is no better behaved than […]

Five questions for Vera Brosgol


Vera Brosgol’s 2011 YA debut was Anya’s Ghost (Roaring Brook/First Second, 12–16 years), a graphic novel about a quirky friendship — between a girl and a ghost. Her first picture book, Leave Me Alone! (Roaring Brook, 5–8 years), has a similarly wry and witty tone and highlights a point of view not always seen in […]

Review of Leave Me Alone!

brosgol_leave me alone

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol; illus. by the author Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-62672-441-9    $17.99 Graphic novelist Brosgol (Anya’s Ghost, rev. 7/11) makes an impressive picture-book debut with this inventive story about an old woman’s quest to knit in peace. The tale begins with traditional narrative trappings: “Once there was an old […]

Goodnight unicorn lovers everywhere


Goodnight Unicorn by Pearl E. Horne, illustrated by Kendra Spanjer (Bailiwick Press, February 2016) bills itself as “a magical parody” of – you guessed it! – Goodnight Moon. Given the descriptor parody right there on the cover, I expected the book to be silly: filled with farting rainbows and all that. Parodies are supposed to […]

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


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 […]