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About Betty Carter

Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

Review of Bird Builds a Nest

Bird Builds a Nest [A First Science Storybook] by Martin Jenkins; illus. by Richard Jones Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 2/18    978-0-7636-9346-6    $16.99 Striking mixed-media illustrations, collage-like and muted with earth tones, depict a burnt-orange sun rising in the east and a bird perched on a tree branch, perfectly representing the opening sentence of […]

Review of The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead

The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead by Deborah Noyes Middle School    Viking    152 pp. 8/17    978-0-8037-4018-1    $18.99 In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Spiritualist movement swept the nation. Noyes (Ten Days a Madwoman, rev. 1/16) uses Harry Houdini’s attempts to discredit the […]

Review of Robinson

Robinson by Peter Sís; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    48 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-545-73166-9    $17.99 Building on a childhood memory, Sís writes of a school costume party where he and his friends decide to go as pirates. Intervening, his mother reminds him of his love for adventure. Why not go as Robinson Crusoe, from […]

Review of Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code

Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code [Scientists in the Field] by Amy Cherrix Middle School    Houghton    73 pp. 4/17    978-0-544-41165-4    $18.99 When thirteen-year-old Angela Dresch walks out on the Staten Island Beach on the afternoon of October 29, 2012, neither she nor readers know that in a […]

Review of The Music of Life: Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano

The Music of Life: Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano by Elizabeth Rusch; illus. by Marjorie Priceman Primary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp. 4/17    978-1-4814-4484-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4485-9    $10.99 Readers take a journey to Italy during the closing years of the Renaissance to meet a man whose invention is better known than his […]

Review of 5 Little Ducks

5 Little Ducks by Denise Fleming; 
illus. by the author Preschool    Beach Lane/Simon    40 pp. 11/16    978-1-4814-2422-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-2423-3    $10.99 Listeners familiar with the traditional nursery rhyme and song know the general plotline: every day ducks go out; every day the returning group shrinks by one. But the particulars — highlighted in glorious […]

Review of King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats and King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code

King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats by Dori Hillestad Butler; illus. by Nancy Meyers Primary    Peachtree    48 pp. 3/17    978-1-56145-877-6    $14.95 King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code by Dori Hillestad Butler; illus. by Nancy Meyers Primary    Peachtree    48 pp. 3/17  […]

Review of Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism

Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos High School    Holt    294 pp. 3/17    978-0-8050-9835-8    $22.99 e-book ed.  978-1-2501-0967-5    $10.99 This passionate, sprawling, multilayered biography begins like a Robert Capa photograph: right in the middle of the action. […]

Review of Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley; 
illus. by Jessie Hartland Primary    Wiseman/Simon    40 pp. 10/16    978-1-4814-5249-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5250-2    $10.99 Stanley emphasizes Ada Lovelace’s right- and left-brain pedigree (her father, whom she never knew, was the poet Lord Byron; her mother, a scientist and mathematician) beginning with the […]

Review of Vietnam: A History of the War

Vietnam: A History of the War by Russell Freedman Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    150 pp. 10/16    978-0-8234-3658-3    $20.00 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3748-1    $20.00 Freedman opens his history of America’s second-longest war with the massive April 1971 protest against it, posing two questions that frame the entire text: “Was the Vietnam War a tragic mistake? Or was […]