Susan Dove Lempke

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Review of Not the Worst Friend in the World

Not the Worst Friend in the World by Anne RellihanIntermediate    Holiday    272 pp.2/24    9780823454792    $17.99e-book ed.  9780823457663    $10.99In this pitch-perfect middle-grade novel, Lou (short for Louise) copes with her deep shame over some unkind words she said in anger to Francie, her (now former) best friend. Lou can hardly believe...

Review of When Creature Met Creature

When Creature Met Creature by John Agard; illus. by Satoshi KitamuraPreschool, Primary    Scallywag    32 pp.5/24    9781915252470    $18.99Creature-of-No-Words is content being “furry. And never in a hurry.” The large, ungainly fellow enjoys his life, and although he doesn’t “know how to say HAPPY” or “YUMMY” or “SAD” (having no words), he...

Review of The Fire Fox

The Fire Fox by Alexandra Page; illus. by Stef MurphyPreschool, Primary    Two Hoots    32 pp.1/24    9781035027590    $18.99Freya and her mum arrive at a countryside log cabin suffused in gloomy blue with snow falling in the darkness. Mum tells her that “Dad loved this old place…He used to say it was...

Review of Gus & Sully Watch the Weather

Gus & Sully Watch the Weather by Steve Light; illus. by the authorPreschool    Candlewick    16 pp.3/24    9781536230048    $7.99Purple rhino Gus, in his stripey pajamas, exuberantly greets mouse Sully: “What’s the weather like today?” Sully speculates that it could be sunny, but Gus imagines himself with big droplets of sweat, and...

Review of Down the Hole

Down the Hole by Scott Slater; illus. by Adam Ming Primary    Clarion/HarperCollins    40 pp. 10/23    9780358683346    $19.99 Wily Fox meets his match in crafty Rabbit­, as the would-be predator waits by a bunny hole. Underneath the ground, the light from the hole shines down on a rabbit listening alertly while...

Review of Skating Wild on an Inland Sea

Skating Wild on an Inland Sea by Jean E. Pendziwol; illus. by Todd StewartPrimary    Groundwood    32 pp.10/23    9781773067049    $19.99e-book ed.  9781773067056    $16.99“Listen! / Lake Superior / sings a winter song.” Getting all bundled up, two children set off early on a cold morning to go ice skating. Fog rises from...

Review of Chip

Chip by Federico Gastaldi; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Ottaviano/Little, Brown    40 pp.10/23    9780316381840    $18.99Gastaldi begins this gentle story about death on the front endpapers, which feature a collection of “photographs” of a little boy and his constant companion, a pet fish (in a fishbowl). The title page shows two...

Review of A Spider Named Itsy

A Spider Named Itsy by Steve Light; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary  Candlewick    32 pp.9/23    9781536225297    $18.99This riff on the classic children’s song begins with a prequel, as “Itsy Bitsy sits at home, / drinking tea, / all alone” in a web constructed on the spout and handle of a...

Review of Animals in Pants

Animals in Pants by Suzy Levinson; illus. by Kristen Howdeshell and Kevin Howdeshell Primary    Cameron/Abrams    32 pp. 4/23    9781951836627    $17.99 e-book ed.  9781647009502    $15.54 A red-haired child introduces the picture book’s topic forcefully with a large word balloon before the title page: “What? YOU’VE NEVER SEEN ANIMALS IN PANTS?!?” Twenty-three...

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