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Archives for September 2015

Supertruck

Supertruck. So simple, so clever, so appealing both visually and thematically. And such a book for the very, very young. It will need all its superpowers to compete on the Caldecott table, against books with more elaborate and sophisticated art. But some of my favorite picture books of 2015 are for the youngest readers, including this […]

Extracurriculars

Albee, Sarah Why’d They Wear That? Middle school, high school    192 pp.     National Geographic    2015 Albee comprehensively and conversationally examines how fashion has shaped history, and vice versa. Organized chronologically, the text explains how a trend or clothing item originated and what function it served, with numerous accompanying illustrations and photos; side boxes provide […]

Inventions and innovations

Abramovitz, Melissa Amazing Feats of Biological Engineering Middle school, high school    112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library    2014 Carmichael, L. E. Amazing Feats of Civil Engineering Middle school, high school    112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library    2014 Smibert, Angie Amazing Feats of Aerospace Engineering Middle school, high school    112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library    2014 Swanson, Jennifer Amazing […]

Stories behind the stories

Bird, Betsy, Danielson, Julie and Sieruta, Peter D. Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature Middle school, high school    277 pp.     Candlewick     2014 Sieruta, a Horn Book mainstay before his unexpected death in 2012, is joined by Bird and Danielson for a lively historical survey of scandals and secrets from the children’s-book biz. Sandwiched […]

Social revolutionaries

Alko, Selina The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage Gr. K–3    32 pp.     Scholastic/Levine    2015 Richard Loving (white) and Mildred Jeter (black) fell in love and married, then were arrested for miscegenation. Their 1967 Supreme Court case legalized interracial marriage. Alko does a mostly admirable job of shaping the story (some terms […]

Economics and money

Adler, David A. Prices! Prices! Prices!: Why They Go Up and Down Gr. K–3, 4–6     32 pp. Holiday     2015 A boy (and his dog) sets up a lemonade stand, selling his product over several days. The laws of supply and demand play out in solid, specific ways, and concepts of fixed and variable costs and […]

Review of Buddy and Earl

Buddy and Earl by Maureen Fergus; illus. by Carey Sookocheff Primary   Groundwood   32 pp. 8/15   978-1-55498-712-2   $16.95 e-book ed. 978-1-55498-713-9   $14.95 Sweet, clueless mutt Buddy meets a “strange-looking thing” inside a box in the living room, who introduces himself as Earl. Earl claims to be first a racecar, then a giraffe, then a sea urchin, […]

Come early

Cambridge Public Library is telling me they expect to run out of room at Middle Grade Madness, tonight at the Main Library at 6:00PM; show up early to be guaranteed admission. Youth services director Julie Roach is legendary for the ease with which she firmly shuts the door on even the most well-connected mom trying to […]

Banned Books Week 2015

It’s Banned Books Week! From The American Library Association’s website: “Each year, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.” This year, […]

Review of The Marvels

The Marvels by Brian Selznick; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    671 pp. 9/15    978-0-545-44868-0    $32.99 Selznick defined his own format with The Invention of Hugo Cabret (rev. 3/07) and Wonderstruck (rev. 9/11), and this book looks the same, on the outside. But Selznick has created something wholly different here, by introducing one […]