Review of The Tight-Rope Walkers

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The Tight-Rope Walkers by David Almond High School   Candlewick   326 pp. 3/15   978-0-7636-7310-9   $17.99   g Dom is a clever, working-class boy from the north of England, beloved of his teachers, the hope of his parents. It’s the early 1960s, an optimistic period in British education, when the son of a shipbuilder could plausibly end up […]

Review of Challenger Deep

Challenger Deep jacket

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman; illus. by Brendan Shusterman High School   HarperTeen   318 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-113411-1   $17.99   g e-book 978-0-06-223172-7   $9.99 This novel is a challenge to the reader from its first lines: author Shusterman takes us into the seemingly random, rambling, and surreal fantasies of fifteen-year-old Caden Bosch (yes, it makes sense to associate […]

Review of Last Stop on Market Street

de la pena_last stop on market street

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña; illus. by Christian Robinson Primary     Putnam     32 pp. 1/15     978-0-399-25774-2     $16.99 CJ, a young black boy, has a flurry of questions for his grandmother one rainy day: “How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet?” […]

Review of The Walls Around Us

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The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma High School   Algonquin   321 pp. 3/15   978-1-61620-372-6   $17.95   g e-book ed. 978-1-61620-486-0   $17.95 Orianna Speerling — the so-called “Bloody Ballerina” — is just fifteen when she is convicted of murdering two rival dancers. A month after her sentence begins, all forty-two girls interned at the Aurora Hills […]

Review of Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny

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Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman; illus. by the author Primary   Holt   128 pp. 10/14   978-0-8050-9970-6   $13.99 e-book ed. 978-0-8050-9972-0   $9.49 Young rabbit Isabel is known as Bunjitsu Bunny for her proficiency in martial arts class. Himmelman’s thirteen short, generously illustrated chapters relate Isabel’s adventures as she demonstrates that “bunjitsu is not just about […]

Review of The War That Saved My Life

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The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Intermediate   Dial   316 pp. 1/15   978-0-8037-4081-5   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-101-63780-7   $10.99 Ten-year-old Ada has suffered almost unimaginable deprivation and abuse due to an unrepaired clubfoot: she has never been outside her squalid London flat; she’s hit, underfed, belittled, and locked inside a dark cupboard […]

Review of The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

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The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Knopf   40 pp. 1/15   978-0-375-85860-4   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-98242-1   $10.99 “By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich. But you may not know how it happened.” An offstage narrator spins this entertaining tale about the fate of […]

Review of Once Upon an Alphabet

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Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate   Philomel   112 pp. 10/14   978-0-399-16791-1   $26.99 Each letter of the alphabet gets its own little story in this picture book that is much more than a simple set of ABCs. Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking […]

Review of The Right Word

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The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant; illus. by Melissa Sweet Primary    Eerdmans    48 pp. 9/14    978-0-8028-5385-1    $17.50 Apt language and ingenious imagery combine to tell the life story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of the thesaurus. A solitary, though not unhappy, child, Roget spends his time keeping lists and ordering the […]

Review of Nuts to You

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Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate    Greenwillow    260 pp. 8/14    978-0-06-009275-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-226220-2    $8.99 Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his […]