Monica Edinger

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Five questions for 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award winners Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd

A talented pair from Down Under, author Maxine Beneba Clarke and illustrator Van Thanh Rudd are the co-creators of this year’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award winner The Patchwork Bike (Candlewick, 5–8 years). Rudd’s playful, tactile illustrations (done on scrap cardboard) perfectly complement the childlike sensibility of Clarke’s spare,...

Review of The Penderwicks at Last

The Penderwicks at Lastby Jeanne BirdsallIntermediate    Knopf    294 pp.5/18    978-0-385-75566-5    $16.99Library ed.  978-0-385-75567-2    $19.99e-book ed.  978-0-385-75568-9    $10.99The Penderwick series finale (most recently The Penderwicks in Spring, rev. 3/15) is a summertime reverie set at the real-but-still-magical-seeming Arundel estate where it all began fifteen years before. Preparations are underway to celebrate...

2017 in Review: The Year in Words

Literature, whether for adults or young readers, often reflects its time. Each year at awards time, along with such perennial debates as popularity versus literary quality, subjectivity, and age appropriateness, critics often focus on thematic treatments that are on the general public’s minds. Recent times have been challenging for many,...

Review of Goldfish on Vacation

Goldfish on Vacationby Sally Lloyd-Jones; illus. by Leo EspinosaPrimary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g4/18    978-0-385-38611-1    $17.99Library ed.  978-0-385-38612-8    $20.99Three city-dwelling siblings, goldfish owners, feel sad for the derelict, once-magnificent fountain at the end of their street. Then a sign appears on the fountain: “COMING IN TWO WEEKS! CALLING ALL...

Review of Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnamby Elizabeth PartridgeMiddle School, High School    Viking    212 pp.    g4/18    978-0-670-78506-3    $22.99e-book ed.  978-0-425-29178-8    $11.99The Vietnam War was a time of virulent political divisiveness, profound cultural upheaval, and horrific events. It can be challenging to understand, especially for young people born decades afterward,...

Review of Victoria: Portrait of a Queen

Victoria: Portrait of a Queenby Catherine ReefMiddle School    Clarion    246 pp.11/17    978-0-544-71614-8    $18.99Fans’ obsession with Victorian England seems never-ending, yet how much do young Victorianaphiles know about the real woman who gave the period its name? Coming to the rescue is veteran biographer Reef (Ernest Hemingway, rev. 9/09; Florence Nightingale,...

Review of A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E. B. White

A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E. B. Whiteby Barbara Herkert; illus. by Lauren CastilloPrimary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp.10/17    978-1-62779-245-5    $18.99The writer E. B. White is introduced here in spare text and warm images, with a focus on White’s love of nature and animals as well as...

Review of Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song

Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Songby Kathryn Erskine; illus. by Charly PalmerPrimary, Intermediate    Farrar    48 pp.10/17    978-0-374-30301-3    $18.99The effects of colonialism on the continent of Africa are pernicious and vile; in every country the consequences continue to be real and raw, among them those from apartheid,...

Review of The Emperor's Ostrich

The Emperor’s Ostrichby Julie BerryIntermediate, Middle School    Roaring Brook    276 pp.7/17    978-1-59643-958-0    $16.99e-book ed.  978-1-59643-959-7    $9.99A beloved farm animal, a perpetually messy young man, a missing boy emperor, and a sturdy heroine are at the center of Berry’s lively literary fairy tale, a loving homage to Lloyd Alexander and his...

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