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Cynthia K. Ritter

About Cynthia K. Ritter

Cynthia K. Ritter is associate editor of The Horn Book Guide. She earned a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons College.

Review of Max & the Midknights

Max & the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce; illus. by the author Intermediate    Crown    280 pp.    g 1/19    978-1-101-93108-0    $13.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93109-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93110-3    $8.99 It’s the Middle Ages, and redheaded Max is Uncle Budrick’s troubadour apprentice. Max longs to become a knight, but there’s just one problem: Max is a girl, a […]

Burn, baby, burn

These days, I expect fire and fury when I look at the news, but imagine my surprise when I was assigning reviews yesterday and unwittingly sorted these four books into the same pile: An instance of art imitating life? Perhaps. But also perhaps a new cover trend? In particular, the covers for Watch You Burn […]

Review of Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist

Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo Intermediate, Middle School     Clarion     311 pp. 9/18     978-1-328-80956-8     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-328-52690-8     $9.99 Spanish ed. 978-1-328-53481-1     $18.99 Acevedo defied expectations as a girl growing up in a working-class Mexican American family in 1960s and 1970s Las […]

#25DaysofHolidayBooks returns!

Every day is a little bit like Christmas at the Horn Book. But in the fall, our daily sleigh’s worth of packages includes fa-la-la-la-lots of holiday books. We review our new favorites for a range of ages in “Holiday High Notes,” a special feature in each November/December The Horn Book Magazine and December Horn Book […]

Review of A House That Once Was

A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano; illus. by Lane Smith Primary    Roaring Brook    48 pp. 5/18    978-1-62672-314-6    $18.99 “Deep in the woods / is a house / just a house / that once was / but now isn’t / a home.” So begins Fogliano’s rhythmic, read-aloud-perfect tale of two children who discover a mysterious abandoned house. As they […]

Review of Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein and She Made a Monster

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey; illus. by Júlia Sardà Primary    Tundra    56 pp.    g 8/18    978-1-77049-559-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-77049-561-6    $10.99 She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lynn Fulton; illus. by Felicita Sala Primary    Knopf    40 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-525-57960-1    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-57961-8    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-57962-5    $10.99 […]

Creative concepts

Crafting a fresh concept book is no easy task, but the creators of these new picture books introduce fundamental topics in imaginative ways. “Look! Elephants! / One, two, three, four, five…” Five elephants, each rendered in a different pastel color with a thick brown outline, march across the pages of A Parade of Elephants. Counting […]

“Where y’at, Shorty!”

At 5 o’clock on Saturday, I headed down to Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on Boston’s waterfront to see Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown, the thirty-two-year-old’s star-studded new tour to celebrate the 300th anniversary of his hometown, New Orleans. While it was my first time seeing Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews in concert, I was no stranger to […]

The art of deception

The protagonists of the following new YA fantasies all face complex societal structures which force them to hide, lie, or deceive others in some fashion. Along the way, this leads each character to re-examine her or his own identity and prior beliefs…and also makes for compelling reading. Rachel Hartman returns to her fantastical medievalesque world […]

International Sand Sculpting Festival

On Saturday afternoon, I visited the 15th annual International Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach, MA (also known as America’s First Public Beach!). A striking centerpiece paid homage to this year’s theme: “Celebrating Literacy.” Can you name all the kidlit references in this amazing sand creation? And for a bonus round: Can you name the […]