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Review of Oscar's Tower of Flowers

Oscar’s Tower of Flowers by Lauren Tobia; illus. by the author Preschool    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-5362-1777-3    $17.99 In her first solo picture book, Tobia (illustrator of the beloved Anna Hibiscus books) crafts an affecting and wordless tale of separation, growth, neighborliness, and love. Viewers are introduced to young...

Review of The Old Boat

The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey; illus. by the authors Primary    Norton    56 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-324-00517-9    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-00518-6    $17.48 As they did in The Old Truck (rev. 3/20), the brothers Pumphrey find themes of persistence, family, and renewal in the life cycle of a...

Review of Animal Architects

Animal Architects by Amy Cherrix; illus. by Chris Sasaki Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    56 pp.    g 9/21    978-1-5344-5625-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-5626-6    $10.99 “Did you know the natural world is a construction zone? Whether they are large or small, in the ocean or on land, animals are amazing architects!” Cherrix (In...

Review of The Robber Girl

The Robber Girl by Franny Billingsley Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    416 pp.    g 9/21    978-0-7636-6956-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5362-0693-7    $9.99 Robber Girl only remembers the life she’s lived with outlaw Gentleman Jack, who rescued her when she was abandoned at age four. Or so he says. Now she’s eleven, a...

Review of Hurricane

Hurricane by John Rocco; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    48 pp.    g 9/21    978-0-7595-5493-1    $17.99 Life is good for our young narrator. He loves to fish, crab, swim, and just watch the river passing by, and claims a little-used and neglected neighborhood dock as his own. One summer...

Review of Bad Sister

Bad Sister by Charise Mericle Harper; illus. by Rory Lucey Intermediate, Middle School    First Second    240 pp.    g 7/21    978-1-250-21906-0    $19.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-21905-3    $12.99 Skillfully told through the comics medium, this memoir centers on the author’s childhood experiences as a self-identified “bad sister”: “It wasn’t on purpose. The badness...

Review of Switch

Switch by A.S. King High School    Dutton    240 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-525-55551-3    $17.99 “It is, and has been, June 23, 2020, for nine months now.” Global time has inexplicably paused. The U.S. government has created a new school curriculum called “Solution Time” that instructs students “to solve the world’s time...

Review of The Fox and the Forest Fire

The Fox and the Forest Fire by Danny Popovici; illus. by the author Primary    Chronicle    40 pp.    g 8/21    978-1-7972-0282-2    $17.99 The book’s young narrator, sporting a red beanie, has just moved to the country with his mother and is not thrilled about it. “Nights are too quiet,” he complains....

Review of Survivor Tree

Survivor Tree by Marcie Colleen; illus. by Aaron Becker Primary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    48 pp.    g 8/21    978-0-316-48767-2    $18.99 Colleen uses the cycle of the seasons to tell the remarkable story of New York City’s Survivor Tree. Through lyrical prose, she describes the Callery pear tree as it stood for...

Review of Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by Brandy Colbert Middle School, High School   Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    224 pp.    g 10/21    978-0-06-305666-4    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-305668-8    $9.99 On May 30, 1921 — just over one hundred years ago — a young Black...

Review of Fast Pitch

Fast Pitch by Nic Stone Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    192 pp.    g 8/21    978-1-9848-9301-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9302-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9303-1    $10.99 Softball is in Shenice “Lightning” Lockwood’s blood. The twelve-year-old catcher plays for the Fulton Firebirds, the first all-Black team in the league and the only team in...

Review of A House

A House by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    32 pp.    g 9/21    978-0-06-309260-0    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-309261-7    $19.89 Meet a house created out of simple forms and sturdy lines and nestled within a bordered square in a solid pastel blue space. The text (“A house”) is placed...

Review of Dust Off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children's Literature at the Newbery Centennial

Dust Off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children’s Literature at the Newbery Centennial edited by Sara L. Schwebel and Jocelyn Van Tuyl Routledge    264 pp.    g 7/21    978-0-367-33721-6    $160.00 e-book ed.  978-1-000-41761-6    $48.95 The Newbery Medal was first awarded in 1922; as the award approaches its centennial, this volume looks at...

Review of In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, and Years After the 9/11 Attacks

In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, and Years after the 9/11 Attacks by Don Brown; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Etch/Houghton   128 pp.    g 8/21    978-0-358-22357-3    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-21240-9    $14.99 Brown’s America Is Under Attack (rev. 11/11) offered...

Review of J.D. and the Great Barber Battle

J.D. and the Great Barber Battle by J. Dillard; illus. by Akeem S. Roberts Primary, Intermediate    Kokila/Penguin    128 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-593-11152-9    $15.99 Paper ed.  978-0-593-11154-3    $6.99 J.D. is excited about starting third grade at Douglass Elementary School. At least he was excited before his mom gave him a disastrous...

Review of The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.    g 8/21    978-0-8234-4698-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-5067-1    $11.99 Familiar fairy-tale tropes are re-envisioned through Gauld’s (a cartoonist and New Yorker cover artist) particular deadpan lens for this original fairy tale....

Review of You Can't Say That: Writers for Young People Talk About Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell

You Can’t Say That: Writers for Young People Talk About Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell edited by Leonard S. Marcus Candlewick    220 pp.    g 7/21    978-0-7636-9036-6    $18.99 Marcus, author of many great interviews for The Horn Book Magazine, here compiles interviews with thirteen authors of...

Review of All Hands on Deck!: A Deadly Hurricane, a Daring Rescue, and the Origin of the Cajun Navy

All Hands on Deck!: A Deadly Hurricane, a Daring Rescue, and the Origin of the Cajun Navy by Robert Neubecker; illus. by the author Primary    Knopf    40 pp.    g 6/21    978-0-593-17689-4    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-17690-0    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-17691-7    $10.99 “The little boats come from all over the coast, one...

Review of Being Clem

Being Clem [Finding Langston] by Lesa Cline-Ransome Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    256 pp.    g 8/21    978-0-8234-4604-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4896-8    $10.99 In the final installment of the trilogy (Finding Langston, rev. 9/18; Leaving Lymon, rev. 3/20), we are (re)introduced to Chicago-born Clemson Thurber Junior. Too young to remember his father,...

Review of El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! by Donna Barba Higuera; illus. by Juliana Perdomo Preschool, Primary    Abrams    40 pp.    g 7/21    978-1-4197-4445-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64700-311-1    $15.54 Ramón, a Mexican American boy, is scared of starting school in a new town. El Cucuy, the Bogeyman in Mexican folklore, lives in a...

Review of From Sarah to Sydney: The Woman Behind All-of-a-Kind Family

From Sarah to Sydney: The Woman Behind All-of-a-Kind Family by June Cummins with Alexandra Dunietz Yale University Press    383 pp.    g 6/21    978-0-300-24355-0    $35.00 This long-awaited — and much ­anticipated — biography is the first ever of Sydney Taylor (1904–1978), author of the beloved All-of-a-Kind Family books about five Jewish...

Review of The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom

The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom by Lita Judge; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Roaring Brook    48 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-250-23707-1    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-82924-5    $10.99 Scientists are learning that trees communicate with one another, and with other species, by sending chemical...

Review of The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell

The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell by Jordan Sonnenblick Intermediate    Scholastic    224 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-338-64723-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-64724-2    $10.99 Young Jordan hasn’t always had the best luck when it comes to teachers, but he’s fairly sure his fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Fisher loathes him. His mother gets the...

Review of Dreyer's English: Good Advice for Good Writing (Adapted for Young Readers)

Dreyer’s English: Good Advice for Good Writing (Adapted for Young Readers) by Benjamin Dreyer Intermediate, Middle School, High School    Delacorte    288 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-593-17680-1    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-17681-8    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-17682-5    $10.99 This adaptation of Dreyer’s adult style guide of the same name is as useful and amusing...

Review of Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School

Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School by Emily Jenkins; illus. by Pete Oswald Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    240 pp.    g 6/21    978-0-525-64471-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-64472-9    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-64473-6    $10.99 Harry Bergen-Murphy is worried about a lot of things on the night before starting first grade —...

Review of I Can Make a Train Noise

I Can Make a Train Noise  by Michael Emberley and Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick; illus. by the authors  Preschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    32 pp.    g  7/21    978-0-8234-4496-0    $18.99  e-book ed.  978-0-8234-5063-3    $11.99  The action begins on the book’s cover, where readers can spot a young child and her family walking down a busy city street, headed...

Review of A de Grummond Primer: Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection

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A de Grummond Primer: Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection edited by Carolyn J. Brown, Ellen Hunter Ruffin, and Eric L. Tribunella University Press of Mississippi    151 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-4968-3339-6    $45.00 e-book ed.  978-1-4968-3340-2    $30.00 A handsome introduction to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of...

Review of This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth

This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth by Sean Rubin; illus. by the author Primary    Holt    48 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-250-78850-4    $18.99 This is the story of an extraordinary Callery pear tree, told in the voice of the tree itself. Planted in the 1970s, this early spring...

Review of Not My Problem

Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth High School    HarperTeen    368 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-295714-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-295716-0    $9.99 Bossy know-it-all perfectionist Meabh and underachieving social outcast Aideen are enemies at their Irish high school (think Derry Girls, but co-ed and with more than one wee lesbian). But when Aideen...

Review of The Last Fallen Star

The Last Fallen Star [Gifted Clans] by Graci Kim Intermediate, Middle School   Riordan/Disney-Hyperion    336 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-368-05963-3    $16.99 Paper ed.  978-1-368-06127-8    $7.99 e-book ed.  978-1-368-06128-5    $10.99 As an adopted member of the Gom, the Korean healing-witch clan, Riley wishes she had magic like her sister Hattie so she could...

Review of My Two Border Towns

My Two Border Towns by David Bowles; illus. by Erika Meza Primary    Kokila/Penguin    40 pp.    g 8/21    978-0-593-11104-8    $17.99 Spanish ed.  978-0-593-32507-0    $17.99 A sleepy boy is nudged awake by his father for a routine Saturday trip, heading across the U.S.–Mexico border to “el Otro Lado.” As they reach the...

Review of The Art of Ramona Quimby: Sixty-Five Years of Illustrations from Beverly Cleary's Beloved Books

The Art of Ramona Quimby: Sixty Five Years of Illustrations from Beverly Cleary's Beloved Books by Anna Katz Chronicle    256 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4521-7695-6    $40.00 This homage explores Cleary's beloved character through artwork by her five primary illustrators: Louis Darling, Alan Tiegreen, Joanne Scribner, Tracy Dockray, and Jacqueline Rogers. After...

Review of Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch

Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch by Heidi Tyline King; illus. by Ekua Holmes Primary, Intermediate    Putnam    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-101-99629-4    $17.99 American Beach in northeast Florida is now a protected part of the National Park Service, but it began as a private beach...

Review of Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend by Dawn Quigley; illus. by Tara Audibert Primary    Heartdrum/HarperCollins    80 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-301537-1    $15.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-301538-8    $4.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-301539-5    $4.99 This series opener introduces Jo Jo Makoons Azure, a rambunctious first grader with “strong lungs” (according to her mom) and...

Review of Strollercoaster

 Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler; illus. by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay Preschool    Little, Brown    32 pp.    g 6/21    978-0-316-49322-2    $17.99 Preschooler Sam needs a nap. “The inside feels too small” for her, and she throws a tantrum. There’s only one solution: her father swings her up into the air...

Review of Hello, Earth!: Poems to Our Planet

Hello, Earth!: Poems to Our Planet by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Miren Asiain Lora Primary, Intermediate    Eerdmans    72 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-8028-5528-2    $18.99 Sidman’s collection of short poems considers a variety of earth science concepts. On gorgeously illustrated pages that portray the planet in terms of space and time, weather...

Review of Baseball's Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues

Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues by Andrea Williams Middle School    Roaring Brook    336 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-250-62372-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-62373-7    $10.99 September 1946. Effa Manley is in the stands of New York City’s Polo Grounds to watch a Negro World...

Review of Take Back the Block

Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles Intermediate, Middle School    Random    240 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-593-17517-0    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-17518-7    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-17519-4    $9.99 The most important things on Wes Henderson’s mind this summer are hanging out with his friends, having the newest, freshest sneakers, and preparing for...

Review of Wishes

Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn; illus. by Victo Ngai Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    40 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-338-30589-0    $18.99 A little girl living in an unsafe place watches her grandfather out the window. “The night wished it was quieter,” reads the text. With a page-turn: “The bag wished it was deeper,” as...

Reviews of 2021 Mind the Gap Award winners

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 2021 winners.   The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey; illus. by the authors Preschool, Primary    Norton    40 pp. 1/20   ...

Review of The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship

The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship by Kim Tomsic; illus. by Hadley Hooper Primary    Chronicle    68 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-4521-2783-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-7972-0108-5    $11.99 On the first page of this moving true story, readers meet tenderhearted couple Lawrence and...

Review of The Legend of Auntie Po

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor; illus. by the author Middle School    Kokila/Penguin    304 pp.    g 6/21    978-0-525-55488-2    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-0-525-55489-9    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-55490-5    $8.99 In this graphic novel, thirteen-year-old Mei Hao shares her homemade pies and homespun tales about the eponymous Auntie Po (a...

Review of On the Trapline

On the Trapline by David A. Robertson; illus. by Julie Flett Primary    Tundra    48 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-7352-6668-1    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7352-6669-8    $10.99 From the creators of When We Were Alone (rev. 3/17) comes another powerful and affecting picture book, this one about a boy who accompanies his grandfather Moshom...

Review of A Day for Rememberin’: Inspired by the True Events of the First Memorial Day

A Day for Rememberin’: Inspired by the True Events of the First Memorial Day by Leah Henderson; illus. by Floyd Cooper Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    40 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-4197-3630-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68335-560-1    $15.54 Through the eyes of a formerly enslaved ten-year-old boy, Henderson recounts the story of what some...

Review of A Fort on the Moon

A Fort on the Moon  by Maggie Pouncey; illus. by Larry Day  Primary    Porter/Holiday    32 pp.    g  11/20    978-0-8234-4657-5    $18.99  Young narrator Dodge and his older brother Fox have a single goal — to build a fort on the moon. The brothers’ strong resolve playfully clashes with their father’s unsolicited input...

Review of The Whole Hole Story

The Whole Hole Story  by Vivian McInerny; illus. by Ken Lamug  Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g  1/21    978-0-358-12881-6    $17.99  e-book ed.  978-0-358-12948-6    $12.99  Zia, a brown-skinned girl with a huge afro puff and an expansive imagination, discovers a hole in her pocket. Then the hole moves to the ground and enlarges,...

Review of When I Draw a Panda

When I Draw a Panda  by Amy June Bates; illus. by the author  Primary    Wiseman/Simon    40 pp.    g  9/20    978-1-4814-5148-2    $17.99  e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5149-9    $10.99  In this celebration of imagination, creativity, and friendship, a girl’s chalk-drawn panda leaps off her wall, and together they doodle their way through various adventures. Before...

Review of Alice's Farm: A Rabbit's Tale

Alice’s Farm: A Rabbit’s Tale by Maryrose Wood; illus. by Christopher Denise  Intermediate    Feiwel    368 pp.    g  9/20    978-1-250-22455-2    $17.99  e-book ed.  978-1-250-22456-9    $9.99  A folksy omniscient narrator tells the tale of two families, rabbit and human, that share a territory. Young cottontail Alice and her brother Thistle are enjoying their...

Review of Little Bird

Little Bird by Cynthia Voigt; illus. by Lynne Rae Perkins  Intermediate    Greenwillow    336 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-299689-3    $16.99  e-book ed.  978-0-06-299691-6    $8.99  In her latest animal fantasy, Voigt returns to the Old Davis Farm, a territory she has explored in three previous books (most recently Toaff’s Way, rev. 9/18). Little Bird is a curious...

Review of The Last Rabbit

The Last Rabbit  by Shelley Moore Thomas; illus. by Julie Mellan  Intermediate    Lamb/Random    288 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-593-17353-4    $16.99  Library ed.  978-0-593-17354-1    $19.99  e-book ed.  978-0-593-17355-8    $9.99  An introductory poem explains that Hybrasil, the mythical island west of Ireland once charted on actual nautical maps, was said to be occupied, during its...

Review of A Whale of the Wild

A Whale of the Wild  by Rosanne Parry; illus. by Lindsay Moore  Intermediate    Greenwillow    336 pp.    g  9/20    978-0-06-299592-6    $17.99  The whale of the title could apply to either of two narrators. Vega, a late-adolescent orca whale, is just coming into her own as a wayfinder. The alternating voice is that of her...

Review of A Cat Story

A Cat Story by Ursula Murray Husted; illus. by the author  Primary, Intermediate    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    192 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-06-293205-1    $22.99  Paper ed.  978-0-06-293204-4    $12.99  e-book ed.  978-0-06-293206-8    $10.99  This graphic novel, set on the island of Malta, is the story of stray cats who spend their days wandering the wet...

Review of The Hungry Place

The Hungry Place by Jessie Haas  Intermediate, Middle School    Boyds Mills/Boyds Mills & Kane    190 pp.    g  10/20    978-1-68437-794-7    $17.99  Princess, born a champion Connemara pony at Highover Farm, has all the best care from her doting, elderly owner Roland. In a separate but linked narrative, Rae, a scrappy eight-year-old with the love...

Review of Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good

Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good  by Nancy Werlin High School    Candlewick    352 pp.    g  4/21    978-1-5362-1473-4    $17.99  Zoe Rosenthal is a rule follower and a planner, attached to her bullet journal (whose pages are interspersed). She’s a devoted girlfriend, hoping to attend the same college as her boyfriend. And she’s a fan...

Review of Between Perfect and Real

Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve  High School    Amulet/Abrams    304 pp.    g  4/21    978-1-4197-4601-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68335-951-7    $15.54  Until senior year, seventeen-year-old Dean had identified as a “tomboy lesbian” but now increasingly identifies as a guy. When a forward-looking theater teacher casts him as Romeo in a production of Romeo and Juliet, Dean, who...

Review of Pumpkin

Pumpkin  by Julie Murphy  High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    336 pp.    g  5/21    978-0-06-288045-1    $17.99  e-book ed.  978-0-06-288047-5    $11.99  Waylon Brewer does not fit in at Clover City High School. He’s fat; he’s gay; and he loves drag, particularly a drag-competition TV show called Fiercest of Them All. But no one, not...

Review of Mazie

Mazie  by Melanie Crowder  High School    Philomel    352 pp.    g  2/21    978-0-525-51674-3    $17.99  In 1959, seventeen-year-old Mazie suddenly finds herself with the funds to leave Nebraska and spend six weeks in New York City pursuing her Broadway dreams. At first she’s overwhelmed and lonely, living in the big city at a boardinghouse for...

Review of Muted

Muted  by Tami Charles  High School    Scholastic    400 pp.    g  2/21    978-1-338-67352-4    $18.99  e-book ed.  978-1-338-67353-1    $11.99  This timely and lyrical verse novel offers a heart-wrenching, unflinching look at the underbelly of the music industry and its exploitation of those who dream of making it big. Three best friends, all talented...

Review of Violet and Daisy: The Story of Vaudeville's Famous Conjoined Twins

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Violet and Daisy: The Story of Vaudeville’s Famous Conjoined Twins by Sarah Miller Middle School, High School    Schwartz & Wade/Random    320 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-593-11972-3    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-11973-0    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-11974-7    $10.99 On February 5, 1908, conjoined twins were born to Kate Skinner, an unwed mother, in Brighton,...

Review of Pawcasso

Pawcasso by Remy Lai; illus. by the author Intermediate    Holt    240 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-250-77448-4    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-77449-1    $14.99 Lai’s finger is always precisely on the pulse of kid humor (see Pie in the Sky, rev. 7/19; Fly on the Wall, rev. 9/20), and she provides laughs galore in...

Review of The Museum of Everything

The Museum of Everything by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-298630-6    $17.99 In this big, noisy world, a museum, even if it’s only in one’s imagination, is a place of quiet contemplation. With this absorbing and original picture book, Perkins offers a...

Review of The People's Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art

The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art by Cynthia Levinson; illus. by Evan Turk Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    48 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-4197-4130-2    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64700-320-3    $15.54 Ben Shahn (1898–1969) was known as “the people’s painter” because his art told real stories about real people. Levinson...

Review of Wildflowers

Wildflowers by Liniers; illus. by the author Primary    TOON    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-943145-53-9    $12.95 Liniers (The Big Wet Balloon, rev. 9/13; Good Night, Planet, rev. 1/18) presents a charming celebration of nature, siblinghood, and imaginative play. As three sisters play together on a mysterious island (their backyard), they encounter...

Review of Wonder Walkers

Wonder Walkers by Micha Archer; illus. by the author Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-593-10964-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-10966-3    $10.99 Two children sit inside a house near a shore, peering out the window. “Wonder walk?” asks one child. “Sure,” the other responds. At the page-turn, the children are outdoors,...

Review of We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know

We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell; illus. by Frané Lessac Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-62354-192-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-973-6    $9.99 In this informational picture book by the team behind We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga (rev. 11/18), a diverse group of students...

Review of My Last Summer with Cass

My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley; illus. by the author High School    Little, Brown    256 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-7595-5546-4    $24.99 Paper ed.  978-0-7595-5545-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-70547-9    $9.99 In this graphic novel, Megan and Cass’s families have always summered together at a cottage in Topinabee, Michigan, where the...

Review of America My Love, America My Heart

America My Love, America My Heart by Daria Peoples-Riley; illus. by the author Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-06-299329-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-308934-1    $12.99 In an immediate, evocative text, a child of color asks America — her country, which she loves — if America loves her back. Against black,...

Reviews of the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Award Winner and Honor Books

Fiction and Poetry Winner A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia High School    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    480 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-236729-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-236732-7    $10.99 Williams-Garcia, whose YA titles include the 1995 classic Like Sisters on the Homefront and Jumped (rev. 3/09), offers an unusual angle on the subject...

Reviews of the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award Winner and Honor Books

Picture Book Winner I Talk like a River by Jordan Scott; illus. by Sydney Smith Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 9/20    978-0-8234-4559-2    $18.99 In this lyrical and empowering picture book, Canadian poet Scott tells a story based on his own experiences as a boy who stuttered. In simple, evocative language, he...

Reviews of the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winner and Honor Books

Nonfiction Winner From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement by Paula Yoo High School    Norton    384 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-324-00287-1    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-00288-8    $17.48 Who was Vincent Chin? The brutal 1982 killing of the young...

Review of Dear Treefrog

Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Diana Sudyka Primary    Houghton    40 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-358-06476-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-06671-2    $12.99 In what is in essence a nonfiction early-chapter-book in verse, a young girl moves to a new home. She’s lonely, but when she explores the garden, she observes a...

Review of Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Greenwillow    160 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-297042-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-297044-2    $8.99 Kelly (Newbery medalist for Hello, Universe, rev. 3/17, and honoree for We Dream of Space, rev. 5/20) reaches out to a younger audience in an...

Review of Early One Morning

Early One Morning by Mem Fox; illus. by Christine Davenier Preschool    Beach Lane/Simon    32 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-4814-0139-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-0140-1    $10.99 Fox (Where Is the Green Sheep?, rev. 5/04; Ducks Away!, rev. 1/18) delivers another impeccably paced book, hitting every beat and every page-turn perfectly. A little boy...

Books for World Refugee Day

Help children honor World Refugee Day with these Guide/Reviews Database-recommended picture books, middle-grade, and young adult books.  For more discussion on the topic, visit the Horn Book website....

Review of Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space

Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space by Miranda Paul; illus. by Sija Hong Primary, Intermediate    Millbrook    32 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-5415-7756-5    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-7284-1898-8    $30.65 Paul’s (Nine Months, rev. 5/19) resonant verse examines phenomena in the far reaches of the universe: “Stretching the limits / of what...

Review of A Sitting in St. James

A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia High School    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    480 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-236729-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-236732-7    $10.99 Williams-Garcia, whose YA titles include the 1995 classic Like Sisters on the Homefront and Jumped (rev. 3/09), offers an unusual angle on the subject of slavery with this...

Review of The Night Walk

The Night Walk by Marie Dorléans; illus. by the author; trans. from French by Polly Lawson Primary    Floris    32 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-78250-639-3    $17.95 Awakened by their mother’s voice and a sliver of light through their bedroom door, two children sleepily dress so they can “get there on time.” Where...

Review of What Are Little Girls Made Of?

What Are Little Girls Made Of? by Jeanne Willis; illus. by Isabelle Follath Primary    Nosy Crow/Candlewick    32 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-5362-1733-9    $14.99 What are little girls made of? More than “sugar and spice and everything nice” in Willis’s narrative-flipping revision of the classic rhyme. Her update? “Sun and rain and...

Review of Notes from a Young Black Chef: Adapted for Young Adults

Notes from a Young Black Chef: Adapted for Young Adults by Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein Middle School, High School    Delacorte    288 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-593-17600-9    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-17601-6    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-17602-3    $10.99 When chef Kwame Onwuachi opened his high-end (if ultimately ill-fated) restaurant Shaw Bijou atop...

Review of How to Become a Planet

How to Become a Planet by Nicole Melleby Middle School    Algonquin    288 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-64375-036-1    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-64375-162-7    $9.99 As the book opens, twelve-year-old Pluto, so named for her mother’s space obsession, asks the Hayden Planetarium’s question-and-answer hotline how to create a black hole, because she wants to...

Review of Hazel bly and the Deep Blue Sea

Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    352 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-316-53545-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-53546-5    $9.99 Twelve-year-old Hazel and her younger sister have been moving around the country with Mama for two years, ever since Hazel’s other mother died in...

Review of Walk Toward the Rising Sun: From Child Soldier to Ambassador of Peace

Walk Toward the Rising Sun: From Child Soldier to Ambassador of Peace by Ger Duany with Garen Thomas High School    Make Me a World/Random    320 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-5247-1940-1    $18.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1941-8    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1942-5    $11.99 In this vivid memoir, Duany recounts his experience as a Lost Boy....

Review of Middletown

Middletown by Sarah Moon Middle School    Levine Querido    288 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-64614-042-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64614-107-4    $9.99 Thirteen-year-old Eli and her big sister Anna, seventeen, are used to fending for themselves and covering up their mother’s excessive drinking; they’ve been doing it for years. However, things come to a...

Review of Too Bright to See

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff Middle School    Dial    192 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-593-11115-4    $16.99 Bug has always believed his family’s old Vermont farmhouse is haunted — partly because of shadows and creaks, and partly because he often “catch[es] a glimpse of something in the mirror that isn’t me.”...

Review of Hello, Jimmy!

Hello, Jimmy! by Anna Walker; illus. by the author Primary    Clarion    40 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-358-19358-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-36090-2    $12.99 Jack doesn’t live with his dad full time, and lately when he stays with him, the house seems especially quiet. Although the text never uses the word depressed, this...

Review of Carpenter's Helper

Carpenter’s Helper by Sybil Rosen; illus. by Camille Garoche Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-593-12320-1    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-12321-8    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-12322-5    $10.99 It is spring, and Renata is helping Papi renovate the bathroom. They cut a hole in the wall where the new window will...

Review of Seeking an Aurora

Seeking an Aurora by Elizabeth Pulford; illus. by Anne Bannock Primary    Blue Dot Kids    32 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-7331212-7-9    $17.95 A story from New Zealand about a rare natural wonder. A father awakens his child late at night to “find an Aurora.” The child asks, “What’s an Aurora?” but Dad...

Review of Night Walk

Night Walk by Sara O’Leary; illus. by Ellie Arscott Preschool, Primary    Groundwood    32 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-55498-796-2    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-797-9    $16.95 “Can’t sleep?” asks the narrator’s dad. “Come on, we’ll go for a walk” — and the two set off into the night. This small adventure, described in the...

Review of The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection

The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection by Ben Brashares; illus. by Elizabeth Bergeland Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-316-53825-1    $18.99 When Chuck decides he’s “bored enough” to accept his dad’s suggestion to start unpacking boxes in their new home, he discovers he’s descended from a long line of explorers...

Review of Just Being Dalí: The Story of Artist Salvador Dalí

Just Being Dalí: The Story of Artist Salvador Dalí by Amy Guglielmo; illus. by Brett Helquist Primary, Intermediate    Putnam    40 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-9848-1658-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-1659-7    $10.99 This picture-book biography paints the Spanish surrealist artist as an imaginative, quirky person right from the start. As a child, he...

Review of Tag Team and Training Day

Tag Team [El Toro & Friends] by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay Primary    Versify/Houghton    56 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-358-38039-9    $9.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-39372-6    $6.99 Training Day [El Toro & Friends] by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay Primary    Versify/Houghton   ...

Review of We All Play

We All Play by Julie Flett; illus. by the author Preschool    Greystone Kids    40 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-77164-607-9    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77164-608-6    $17.99 In Flett’s lively and beautifully illustrated story, animals engage in all sorts of playful behaviors, on land and in the water. Each spread depicts one or two...

Review of Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile

Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile by María José Ferrada; illus. by María Elena Valdez; trans. from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel Intermediate, Middle School    Eerdmans    80 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-8028-5567-1    $18.99 During General Pinochet’s dictatorship, thousands of Chilean citizens were “disappeared,” including thirty-four children. Ferrada’s (Mexique: A Refugee...

Review of A Shot in the Arm!

A Shot in the Arm! [Big Ideas That Changed the World] by Don Brown; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams   144 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-4197-5001-4    $13.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64700-090-5    $12.59 In this third installment of his Big Ideas That Changed the World comic-format series, Brown lays out the...

Review of Ophie's Ghosts

Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    336 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-291589-4    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-291585-6    $9.99 “When she was twelve, Ophelia Harrison saw her first ghost” — that of her father. Having been lynched for voting as a Black man in 1920s Georgia, he appears...

Review of Someone Builds the Dream

Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler; illus. by Loren Long Primary    Dial    48 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-9848-1433-3    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-1434-0    $10.99 Written in aptly propulsive verse and illustrated with aptly muscular art, this is a paean to people who work with their hands. To make a house, an...

Review of Taking Care of Mama Rabbit

Taking Care of Mama Rabbit by Anita Lobel; illus. by the author Preschool    Wiseman/Simon    24 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-5344-7064-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-7063-7    $10.99 Mama Rabbit (from Lobel’s 10 Hungry Rabbits, rev. 1/12) is sick in bed, so, one at a time, the little rabbits bring small items to cheer...

Review of The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field by Scott Riley; illus. by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien Primary, Intermediate    Millbrook    40 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-5415-7915-6    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-7284-1900-8    $9.99 Young Prasit Hemmin and his friends loved soccer. But because their small island...

Review of Merci Suárez Can’t Dance

Merci Suárez Can’t Dance by Meg Medina Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    384 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-7636-9050-2    $17.99 Merci navigates the troubles of home and seventh grade — and the gap between the two — with her irresistible combination of spirit and heart in this follow-up to the Newbery-winning Merci Suárez...

Review of Happy Springtime!

Happy Springtime! by Kate McMullan; illus. by Sujean Rim Preschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    32 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-8234-4551-6    $18.99 Shades of icy blue suffuse the first double-page spread, with four kids all bundled up against a chilly, snowy day: “Here’s a message for school bus riders heading out on a cold,...
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