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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 […]

Review of School’s First Day of School

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School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex; 
illus. by Christian Robinson Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp. 6/16    978-1-59643-964-1    $17.99    g We’ve had many books about kids getting ready for the first day of school, but now we have another perspective: the school’s itself. The title page shows the finishing touches being added to a […]

Recommended School Stories: Easy Readers and Chapter Books

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Cheng, Andrea The Year of the Book 148 pp. Houghton 2012. ISBN 978-0-547-68463-5 Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Nine-year-old Anna, who always has her head stuck in a book, sometimes uses reading as a shield against social exclusion (of the specialized fourth-grade-girl kind) and her own lack of confidence. Cheng’s telling is as straightforward yet sympathetic […]

Review of Mister Cleghorn’s Seal

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Mister Cleghorn’s Seal by Judith Kerr; illus. by the author Primary/Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    95 pp. 6/16    978-0-00-817083-7    $14.99 Recently retired newsagent Mister Cleghorn finds himself lonely and purposeless. On a trip to the seaside, he impulsively adopts Charlie, an orphaned seal pup, intending on taking him back to the city and donating him to his local […]

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 […]

LumiKids Park app review

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LumiKids Park (2015) is part of Lumos Labs’ series of “digital playspace[s] for kids to explore concepts through intuitive and adaptive activities.” Each of the four apps (so far; see our reviews of Snow, Backyard, and Beach) present different concepts to develop different cognitive skills. Park focuses specifically on visual-motor coordination, sorting, and attention. As […]

Review of Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story

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Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story by Arun Gandhi and Bethany 
Hegedus; illus. by Evan Turk Primary    Atheneum    48 pp. 8/16    978-1-4814-4265-7    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4266-4    $10.99 The creators of Grandfather Gandhi (rev. 3/14) here share another episode featuring the groundbreaking civil rights figure. Young Arun Gandhi and his family live “simply and […]

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 […]

Trilo Spelling app review

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In Trilo Spelling (Swedish/American developer Trilo, June 2016), your goal is to spell your way to a story. As Spooka the ghost explains, correct answers in a variety of spelling games will earn you fuel for your plane. Then you can fly around the app’s island setting, gathering puzzle pieces which come together to form […]