Review of Little Melba and 
Her Big Trombone

russell-brown_little melba

Little Melba and 
Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown; 
illus. by Frank Morrison Primary    Lee & Low    40 pp. 7/14    978-1-60060-898-8    $18.95    g From the time she was a little girl, Melba Liston loved music, especially the jazz music that surrounded her while she was growing up, first in Kansas City and then in Los […]

Review of A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

mcdonnell_perfectly messed-up story

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 10/14    978-0-316-22258-7    $17.00 “No pages were harmed in the making of this book.” This cheeky copyright page disclaimer is undoubtedly true, but the very realistic-looking messes inside — and on the cover—make it hard to believe. For Louie, […]

Review of Winter Bees

sidman_winter bees

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Rick Allen Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-547-90650-8    $17.99 In winter, bees (“we are nothing on our own”) keep their precious queen warm by massing together into a “sizzling ball.” Hibernating garter snakes, safe in a cave, “’round each other twist […]

Around the world

nye_turtle of oman

Reading can take children on journeys outside of their everyday realms. The following stories — some humorous, some tender — allow independent readers to spend time with characters from all over the globe. When Naomi Shihab Nye’s The Turtle of Oman opens, Aref and his mother are preparing to leave their home in Muscat, Oman, […]

You’ve got to have friends

barnett_samanddave

Picture books about friendship can be a dime a dozen. However, these four new gems — about companions in adventure, in-sync skating partners, a tender odd-couple bond, and a freewheeling affection-giver — freshen things up. In Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, two boys set out to do just that — but unearth nothing. Eventually […]

Review of The Way to the Zoo

burningham_this way to the zoo

The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-7317-8    $15.99 “All I have to do is leave you at home when I go out for a while and it looks as if you had the whole zoo in here!” cries Sylvie’s mother. Actually, there had […]

Review of The Iridescence of Birds

maclachlan_iridescence of birds

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan; 
illus. by Hadley Hooper Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp. 10/14    978-1-59643-948-1    $17.99 “If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived / in a dreary town…” Thus begins this speculative exploration of the painter’s early encounters with color, worded as a book-length […]

Review of The Farmer and the Clown

frazee_farmer and the clown

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    32 pp. 10/14    978-1-4424-9744-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4424-9745-0    $10.99 Appearances can be deceiving in this superb wordless book from two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Frazee. At sunset, a grim-faced, pitchfork-wielding farmer comes to the rescue when a circus train hits […]

Review of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

barnett_samanddave

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 10/14    978-0-7636-6229-5    $16.99 This adventure starts innocently enough: “On Monday Sam and Dave dug a hole.” The boys (indistinguishable save the color of their hats and Sam’s ever-present backpack) are fueled by chocolate milk, animal cookies, and a […]

Review of Malala, a Brave Girl from 
Pakistan / Iqbal, a Brave 
Boy from Pakistan

winter_malala - iqbal

Malala, a Brave Girl from 
Pakistan / Iqbal, a Brave 
Boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter; 
illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Beach Lane/Simon    40 pp. 11/14    978-1-4814-2294-9    $17.99 This picture book tells two stories (one side is Malala’s story; flip it over for Iqbal’s), introducing young readers to Malala Yousafzai (recent winner of the […]