Review of March: Book Two

lewis_march bk 2

March: Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell Middle School, High School   Top Shelf Productions   192 pp. 1/15   978-1-60309-400-9   $19.95   g Lewis and Aydin begin this second volume of the graphic memoir trilogy in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2009 (President Obama’s first inauguration), then they move back in time […]

Review of My Bike

barton_my bike

 My Bike by Byron Barton; illus. by the author Preschool   Greenwillow   40 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-233699-6   $16.99 This latest installment in Barton’s transportation series (My Car, rev. 11/01; My Bus, rev. 3/14) may be the best one yet. Which is saying a lot. With bright primary colors, simple bold shapes, and the briefest of texts, Barton […]

Review of Detective Gordon: The First Case

nilsson_detective gordon the first case

Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson; illus. by Gitte Spee; trans. from the Swedish by Julia Marshall Primary, Intermediate   Gecko   96 pp. 4/15   978-1-927271-49-0   $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-927271-72-8   $9.99 This Swedish import stars toad Detective Gordon, “Chief of Police and Chief of Detectives in the forest.” He’s elderly (for a toad: nineteen), cerebral, […]

Review of It’s Only Stanley

agee_it's only stanley

It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Dial   32 pp. 3/15   978-0-8037-3907-9   $17.99 The Wimbledon family can’t sleep due to one noise (“HOWOOO!”) after another (“CLANK CLANK CLANK”). In each case, it’s the fault of their dog Stanley, whose onomatopoeic disturbances interrupt — hilariously — not just the sleep but […]

Review of Meet the Dullards

pennypacker_meet the dullards

Meet the Dullards by Sara Pennypacker; illus. by Daniel Salmieri Primary   Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins   32 pp. 3/15   978-0-06-219856-3   $17.99 The tradition of Bottner’s The Scaredy Cats (rev. 3/03) and Allard’s Stupids books (The Stupids Die, rev. 8/81) lives on with the Dullards, a family of five engulfed in ennui. The Dullard parents are horrified when […]

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

suma_walls around us

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

himmelman_tales of bunjitsu bunny

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 […]