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Review of On the Ball

pinkney_on the ball

On the Ball by Brian Pinkney; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Disney-Hyperion   32 pp. 9/15   978-1-4847-2329-6   $17.99 Pinkney’s latest picture-book offering begins on a soccer field, then takes flight as a young boy’s imagination soars. The opening text reads, “Owen loved playing ball,” and the accompanying illustrations show a boy first dribbling and then […]

Review of Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas

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Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas by Rubin Pingk; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Simon   40 pp. 9/15   978-1-4814-3057-9   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-3058-6   $10.99 It’s hard to be a ninja when no one will join your snowball fight for fear of landing on Santa’s naughty list. There’s only one thing for Yukio to do: […]

Review of The Plan

paul_the plan

The Plan by Alison Paul; illus. by Barbara Lehman Primary   Houghton   32 pp. 11/15   978-0-544-28333-6   $17.99 In just twenty words and a set of artfully plain pictures, Paul and Lehman reveal a sweet, multilayered story of family loss and closeness. May Swift lives with her father and (anthropomorphized) dog on a prairie farm sometime in […]

Review of Oskar and the Eight Blessings

simon_oskar and the eight blessings

Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon; illus. by Mark Siegel Primary, Intermediate   Roaring Brook   40 pp. 9/15   978-1-59643-949-8   $17.99 In 1938, the last night of Hanukkah coincided with Christmas Eve, and for a young Jewish refugee in Manhattan, both holidays provided blessings. Following Kristallnacht, Oskar’s parents had put him on […]

Review of Goodnight, Good Dog

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Goodnight, Good Dog by Mary Lyn Ray; illus. by Rebecca Malone Preschool   Houghton   32 pp. 11/15   978-0-544-28612-2   $16.99 A small yellow dog has no interest in going to bed. (Just like many a child.) Even after the house and the people in it are asleep, the dog is awake and remembering his fun-filled day—playing, eating, […]

Review of Lost. Found.

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Lost. Found. by Marsha Diane Arnold; 
illus. by Matthew Cordell Preschool   Porter/Roaring Brook   32 pp. 11/15   978-1-62672-017-6   $16.99 A bear’s red wool scarf is carried off by a strong gust of wind (“Lost”). Two quarrelsome raccoons spy the scarf lying in the snow (“Found”); they get into a tiff and run off squabbling, leaving the […]

Review of The Day the Crayons 
Came Home

daywalt_Day the Crayons Came Home

The Day the Crayons 
Came Home by Drew Daywalt; 
illus. by Oliver Jeffers Primary   Philomel   48 pp. 9/15   978-0-399-17275-5   $18.99   g The personified crayons who revolted against their little-boy owner, Duncan, in The Day the Crayons Quit (rev. 11/13) are writing again. This time, instead of sending indignant resignation letters, they send indignant postcards from […]

Family ties

petricic_my family tree and me

Families come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations. The following nonfiction picture books present examples of this variety, with the common element being love. In My Family Tree and Me, Dušan Petričić creates an innovative introduction to the ordinary miracle of genealogy. Reading the book from front to middle, we meet the paternal line […]

Review of Elephant in the Dark: Based on a Poem by Rumi

Javaherbin_elephant in the dark

Elephant in the Dark: Based on a Poem by Rumi retold by Mina Javaherbin; 
illus. by Eugene Yelchin Primary   Scholastic   40 pp. 8/15   978-0-545-63670-4   $17.99   g Merchant Ahmad brings a mysterious creature to his village, “all the way from India!” While Ahmad sleeps, the curious villagers climb through a window in his barn and feel […]

Comics Are Picture Books: A (Graphic) Novel Idea

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Comic books are everywhere. Customers are purchasing them, readers of all ages are devouring them, teachers are using more and more of them in their classrooms, and they’re winning awards like crazy. Some people have applauded recent book-award committees’ open-mindedness to the comics format, while others remain conflicted. The recurrent question of whether ALA should […]