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Review of Full of Beans

holm_full of beans

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm Intermediate    Random    196 pp. 8/16    978-0-553-51036-2    $16.99 Library ed.  978-553-51037-9    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-553-51039-3    $10.99 Beans Curry, first introduced in Turtle in Paradise (rev. 5/10), gets his own starring role in this standalone prequel set in 1934 Key West. With his dad out of work and his […]

Jennifer L. Holm on Full of Beans


In our July/August 2016 issue, reviewer Betty Carter asks author Jennifer L. Holm about the inspiration for her new novel Full of Beans. Read the full starred review. Betty Carter: You have a knack of making a story so time-specific (the Great Depression in Full of Beans, for example), yet so universal in theme. What […]

Review of As Brave As You

reynolds_as brave as you

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    415 pp. 5/16    978-1-4814-1590-3​    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-1592-7    $10.99 Reynolds (The Boy in the Black Suit, rev. 3/15; with Brendan Kiely, All American Boys, rev. 11/15) delivers an emotionally resonant middle-grade story of an African American family working to overcome its tumultuous past in […]

Reviews of 2016 Mind the Gap Award winners

2016 Mind the Gap Awards

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2016 winners. 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 […]

Review of Wolf Hollow

wolk_wolf hollow

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    294 pp. 4/16    978-1-101-99482-5    $16.99    g Two story lines wind around each other in this novel set in rural Pennsylvania in the 1940s. The narrator, twelve-year-old Annabelle, is one of the objects of vicious attacks by new girl Betty, who has inexplicably but relentlessly taken against […]

Review of Who Wants a Tortoise?

keane_ who wants a tortoise

Who Wants a Tortoise? by Dave Keane; 
illus. by K. G. Campbell Preschool, Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 7/16    978-0-385-75417-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-75418-7    $20.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-385-75419-4    $10.99 In spite of her father’s allergies, the narrator longs for a puppy for her birthday. The “present with the holes in the top” looks promising, but […]

Review of Lion Lessons

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Lion Lessons by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Dial    32 pp. 7/16    978-0-8037-3908-6    $17.99    g Disregarding a city block full of advertised classes (baking, karate, knitting, yoga), a small but determined little boy heads straight into the building offering “Lion Lessons.” The instructor, a real lion whose diploma reads “Harvard School of […]

Review of The Best Man


The Best Man by Richard Peck Intermediate, Middle School     Dial     232 pp. 9/16     978-0-8037-3839-3     $16.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-698-18973-7     $10.99 Rise and toast The Best Man, Peck’s story about Archer Magill, a boy growing from a raw dollop of kindergarten id into a functional middle-school kid, a budding citizen of the world. As a participant […]

Review of Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

perkins_frank and lucky get schooled

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled by Lynne Rae Perkins; 
illus. by the author Primary    Greenwillow    32 pp. 6/16    978-0-06-237345-8    $17.99 Frank is having a terrible, horrible, no good etc. day, but then he gets Lucky — a pooch from the pound who becomes Frank’s faithful companion in the business of learning about the world. The […]

Review of Ask Me How I Got Here

heppermann_ask me how i got here

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann High School    Greenwillow    229 pp. 5/16    978-0-06-238795-0    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-238797-4    $9.99 Catholic-school sophomore Addie loves running cross-country, writing poetry, and having sex with her thoughtful, artsy new boyfriend, Nick. Then Addie gets pregnant. Her decision to have an abortion is unwavering, and she has […]