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Review of The Librarian of Auschwitz

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe; trans. from the Spanish by Lilit Žekulin Thwaites High School    Godwin/Holt    424 pp. 10/17    978-1-62779-618-7    $19.99 January 1944: “In this life-destroying factory that is Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the ovens burn corpses day and night, Block 31 is atypical, an anomaly.” It’s where the children in camp BIIb, or the […]

Review of Ducks Away!

Ducks Away! by Mem Fox; illus. by Judy Horacek Preschool    Scholastic    32 pp.    g 1/18    978-1-338-18566-9    $16.99 Fox and Horacek (Where Is the Green Sheep?, rev. 5/04) team up again in this silly, cheerful counting book for the very youngest. When a mother duck waddles onto a bridge, she’s followed by her five ducklings — […]

Review of Windows

Windows by Julia Denos; illus. by E. B. Goodale Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 10/17    978-0-7636-9035-9    $15.99 “At the end of the day, before the town goes to sleep… / you can take a walk, out your door / into the almost-night.” A brown-skinned child puts on a red hoodie and heads out to take the […]

Good Night, Planet

Good Afternoon, (Picture Book) Planet! I have to say that one of the best moments of this Calling Caldecott season was realizing that Argentine artist Liniers is currently a Vermont resident, making his comic book story Good Night, Planet eligible for Caldecott consideration. (Helps a bit with the disappointment of not being able to cover the brilliant Written […]

Review of The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 10/17    978-0-7636-7754-1    $17.99 The opening of this latest Barnett/Klassen collaboration (an original pourquoi tale) seems to presage dire events: “Early one morning, a mouse met a wolf, and he was quickly gobbled up.” But once inside, […]

In the middle of fall

Celebrate the season with these four autumnal picture books, perfect for sharing with preschoolers as the days get chillier. For more, see last November’s Notes article “Wonderfall!” In Rachael Cole’s City Moon, a mother and child embark on an autumnal evening ritual: they take a walk through the city, looking for the moon. The sharp-eyed […]

Review of The War I Finally Won

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Intermediate    Dial    388 pp.    g 10/17    978-0-5254-2920-3    $16.99 This sequel to Bradley’s Newbery Honor–winning The War That Saved My Life (rev. 1/15) begins with high drama: surgery for London-slum-born Ada to correct her clubfoot; the news that abusive Mam has died; Ada’s mistaken belief that she’ll […]

Now

Last year’s Wait by Antoinette Portis was a wonderfully simple but profound paean to children’s ability to observe and take notice while adults rush rush rush everywhere and miss everything, from tiny ladybugs to glorious rainbows. This year’s Now is not all that different: it focuses on a young girl living fully in the moment as […]

Review of The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Pinkney, Jerry The Three Billy Goats Gruff 40 pp. Little 2017. ISBN 978-0-316-34157-8 (3) K–3 Pinkney’s retelling of the classic folktale allows a happier ending for the troll — he is still defeated by the biggest billy goat Gruff but lives to watch the goats reveling in the good life (and possibly, as revealed on […]

Wolf in the Snow

I’ve had my eye on Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow for months. Well, me and everyone else in the picture-book universe (including Betsy Bird, in this extremely articulate review. Please read it). Everything about the book says, This is something special — and that’s not a word I throw around lightly. It was published way back […]