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Review of The Magic Word


The Magic Word by Mac Barnett; illus. by Elise Parsley Primary    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    40 pp. 10/16    978-0-06-235484-6    $17.99 Here, the magic word isn’t please, it’s Alakazoomba, and it’s what amped-up Paxton C. Heymeyer says to summon the cookie that his babysitter won’t let him have — without first saying “the magic word.” With his […]

Review of Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis


Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim; illus. by E. B. Lewis Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp. 10/16    978-0-399-16856-7    $16.99    g John Lewis, longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, was a member of the “Big Six” during the 1963 March on Washington and went on to solidify his […]

Hello Atlas app review


The free Hello Atlas app (Wide Eyed Editions, October 2016; iOS and Android), a companion to the book of the same title, offers a simple introduction to over one hundred languages through greetings and introductory phrases. The opening menu is a slightly animated world map (boats and whales float around the continents), with seven labels: North […]

Aaron Becker on Return


In our September/October 2016 issue, we asked author/illustrator Aaron Becker about a possible cameo in his new picture book Return. Read the full review here, along with reviews of the previous volumes Journey and Quest. Horn Book Editors: Is the father in the story you? Aaron Becker: In a sense, yes. But I think I […]

Review of Return


Return by Aaron Becker; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 8/16    978-0-7636-7730-5    $15.99 This third, wordless installment (Journey, rev. 9/13; Quest, rev. 9/14) brings the story full circle, beginning and ending in the same city brownstone shown in the first book. While Return can be enjoyed on its own, fans will find rewarding […]

Monster mash


What goes bump in the night? Maybe it’s a monster, but maybe it’s a new friend — or maybe it’s both! These monstrously silly picture books are perfect treats for a Halloween story time. In Monica Brown’s Marisol McDonald and the Monster / Marisol McDonald y el monstruo, the little-girl protagonist explores words beginning with […]

Review of Du Iz Tak?

Du Iz Tak?

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    48 pp. 10/16    978-0-7636-6530-2    $16.99    g Picture books have traditionally been a rich source of neologisms. Grinch, knuffle: plums in the puddings of picture book texts. In this story, told in dialogue, Ellis pushes that tradition and invents an entire language. On the […]

Plum’s Creaturizer app review


It’s that (internet) age-old problem: if kids are staring at screens, they aren’t playing outside. PBS Kids’s Plum’s Creaturizer app (2015; iOS and Android), follow-up to the Plum’s Photo Hunt app, attempts to combine techie-fun, some very early science, and outdoor play. According to the “For Parents” section, its aim is to help children “develop […]

Review of The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes


The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh; 
illus. by the author Primary    Abrams    40 pp. 10/16    978-1-4197-2130-4    $16.95 After a string of award-winning picture-book biographies (Separate Is Never Equal, rev. 7/14; Funny Bones, rev. 11/15), Tonatiuh turns to folklore for this adapted pourquoi story that explains the origins of […]

Review of Lucy


Lucy by Randy Cecil; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    144 pp. 8/16    978-0-7636-6808-2    $19.99 In the fictional, old-fashioned metropolis of Bloomville, store-clerk-by-day Sam moonlights as a (stage fright–suffering) juggler. His daughter Eleanor lavishes attention on the neighborhood dogs, including a stray named Lucy. When Lucy — who is often in survival mode — […]