Review of My Family Tree and Me

petricic_my family tree and me

My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić; illus. by the author Primary   Kids Can   24 pp. 4/15   978-1-77138-049-2   $16.95 The truth that if one’s parents hadn’t met one wouldn’t exist is a head-exploding realization of childhood. In this celebration of ancestry, Petričić bounces off that revelation to create an innovative introduction to the ordinary […]

Review of The Last Leaves Falling

benwell_last leaves falling

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell High School   Simon   360 pp. 5/15   978-1-4814-3065-4   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4814-3067-8   $10.99 Sora, only seventeen, has ALS — “an old man’s 
disease” — and knows he’s going to die in just a few years. First, however, he’ll become a vegetable, dependent on his single mom to do […]

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

almond_tight-rope walkers

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?” […]